10 Key Lessons I Learned In My 20s

As much as I was dreading this moment – it has finally come for me to turn the big 3-0! I thought I would have a disastrous breakdown but I must say I am doing much better than expected.

Reflecting back on my twenties and even my teenage years, I am comfortable with saying that “I did alright!” Obviously, there are details and actions that I would take adjustments on (It would be a lie if I said I regretted nothing) however being able to look back with a wider lens, all I want to do is laugh at myself.

Not stating that I have all aspects of my life figured out (not even close) but I have definitely learnt some key lessons in my twenties that I can vouch for and maybe my children (way down in the future) can mirror upon.

So here we go!

Don’t Waste Time with Negative People.

When was the last time you had someone negative around you making you feel shitty about everything? For me, there are two types of negative people; ones that you have to learn to deal with and accept, and ones that you should get rid of quickly.

First, let’s discuss the negative people who you should get rid of quickly. In my early twenties, I would spend time with individuals that felt that they were “better” than me and would always place me in an unfavourable setting. These people are the ones that tend to place you underneath in order to make themselves feel better or always negatively judging you and creating unnecessary drama. They will also make you doubt yourself and bring you down even at your happiest achievements. Sound familiar? I’m not sure what took me so long to rid these negative people (maybe I felt bad?). But trust me – once you do, you will feel so much better. Life really is too short to surround yourself with people who make you feel awful. Spend time with supportive people who promote positive energy into your life and people who inspire you.

Now let’s talk about negative people that you can’t abandon and have to adapt to. For most of my childhood growing up, my mother was negative nancy (I still love you mom!) Nothing was ever good enough or made her happy. As a typical Chinese mother – she would compare me to anyone and everyone’s daughters. “My friend’s daughter is in level 8 piano already!”, “My friend’s daughter is taller than you.”, “My friend’s daughter is at the top of her class.”, “My friend’s daughter can sing, dance and skip rope at the same time.” Really?? I used to feel disappointing and mediocre most of the time. I wanted to please her but knew that I never truly could. Which in return made me very upset and emotional.

As I grew and my own thoughts developed, I realized that her negativity came from a place of love and her own upbringing in Communist China. I had no power in changing her mindset but I could change my own in hopes that one day she would realize.

I started participating in activities that I enjoyed and ignored her negative comments (trust me – very hard to do). I became so good at it that I could laugh and even make fun of myself. I truly focused on my own inner thoughts and blocked out all negative energy. I established my own sense of confidence and created a life that was for me. As time went on, my mother saw the positive energy that I created in my life and eventually jumped onboard. Adapt and change your own mindset!

Family. Ohana.

As I am getting older, family has become my top priority. I have always been close with my family and we are all very open with each other. During the younger days I would always choose hanging out or vacationing with friends – in recent times, that has definitely reversed. The connection that you have with your family is an important one. Having that supportive structure is the best thing. Friends come and go but family will always be there.

Travel As Much As You Can. Even Move Away On Your Own.

I know not everyone has the luxury of traveling but absolutely try. Even at an early age I would save all my money from my part-time jobs for traveling. Instead of purchasing brand name clothing and purses, I would travel. I sacrificed because I wanted life experiences and not material goods.

And I am not talking about the sitting in the sun and sipping pina coladas kind of traveling. I am talking about the ones that bring you new experiences, opens your mind and makes you step out of your comfort zone. Traveling has provided me with new ideas, a broader perspective and a deep appreciation for life. I have learned a great deal from experiencing different cultures, eating diverse foods and most importantly gaining new friendships.

One of most meaningful and crucial moments in my twenties was moving to Korea to teach English. It was a foreign place, I didn’t speak the language and I was all alone. It scared me so much at the time, but I knew it was what I needed. I had been too comfortable and complacent. The experience fully opened my mind and really developed me as a person. When I returned home, silly situations that bothered me before never did anymore. People with their drama didn’t bother me anymore. I developed a new sense of confidence and grew out of the ‘bubble’. Oh, did I mention I met some kick-ass people in Korea that made life so much better?

It’s Okay to Want Different.

I like to try new things all the time and take risks (nothing too crazy of course). Some people see me as scattered for participating and doing all these different things. There were moments in time where I would second guess myself and my actions because everyone around me always had a direct focus and planned to stick with it till retirement. My thought has always been – if I can sustain my life and try new things why shouldn’t I? Being able to accept that it’s okay to want different was one of my key moments.

Sometimes Time Doesn’t Heal All But That’s Okay.

Don’t you love it when people say “don’t worry, time heals all!” Really?? Does it really?

This would be magical wouldn’t it. Of course the hurt and pain will dissipate to a lower degree but sometimes time doesn’t heal everything but really it’s okay. These painful, sad moments are what has shaped me and made me stronger. So just embrace and sing the Kelly Clarkson song.

Be Patient My Dear Self.

I would have to say I am very impatient and it was even evident as I was a child. I always wanted everything to happen quickly and I would become angry at myself or others around me as if we all had any control. BREATH! It takes time for things to happen. People who excel, practice their skills and have an endless desire to keep trying. Whatever it is that you want to accomplish just keep going at it and learn to enjoy the moment rather than looking on to the destination.

Rather Be Weird. Never Be Fake.

This is clearly easier said than done. There were many moments in my life that people viewed me as “weird” so I would transition to what “normal” was. I would follow the norm and just go with the crowd. I would fake conversations and pretended to like certain things. It might feel okay at first – feeling that you fit in. But trust me the last thing you want to do is be fake to yourself. I have now embraced my weirdness and have my husband, family and close friends to thank for that! Thanks guys!

Listen To Your Gut.

Just trust your gut feeling. It’s always been there and for a good reason! It’s taken me years to trust my gut and listen to my instincts. There has been times when I get a bad feeling about a certain client or project that I have to turn down. It might be scary at first and you will feel a heavy lump of guilt but it has never led me astray.

No One Owes You Nuthin.

This is something that I have been saying for a long time. Truly in this world no one owes you anything. If someone decides to do something nice or help you – you need to appreciate that. We often take for granted and feel that we deserve the act of kindness. But the truth is “no one owes you nuthin,” so the next time someone opens the door for you or decides to let you walk ahead – be thankful.

Sometimes Silence Is Key. Wait For The Right Time.

If you know me, you know that I often speak without thinking and very openly. This is just how I am naturally wired and in most cases people closest to me understand. However, there has been situations where being silent had a better, more positive affect. Sometimes the receiver isn’t ready to hear what you have to say or they haven’t fully accepted the situation. Give them some verbal space and think about the outcome of your words.

Happy Turning 3-0 to me! Looking forward to all that I have to learn in my 30s!

Thanks for reading!




Chicken Fricassee with Mushroom and Corn

When the weather starts getting cold, I typically enjoy making hearty meals that will warm me up but easy to throw together. I browsed through here (lots of great chicken recipes) and decided to try this easy Chicken Fricassee with Mushroom and Corn Recipe 

It’s quite an easy recipe and it only took me 15 mins to prep all the ingredients. I adapted a few things for my taste. I used chicken breast instead of thighs and added vinegar to replace white wine. Oh! I also forgot the dijon mustard so had to settle with hot & sweet mustard.

Once I had all the ingredients prepared I quickly browned the mushrooms, red peppers onions and garlic together for a few minutes. Then set it aside.

In the same pan brown the chicken and add salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with some flour and stir. Deglaze with white wine (I used vinegar). When all the chicken looks well coated, add in the broth and mustard. At the end return the mushroom, red peppers and add in corn. Let it all simmer for 15 mins.

I served it with some brown rice which made it a very filling meal. This dish has the right amount of flavour – fresh and a bit of sweetness from the corn and red peppers. It also made for great leftovers the next day!

What you need:
8 oz (227 g) white button mushrooms, halved
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cubed
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb (675 g) boneless chicken thighs, cubed
3 tablespoons (45 ml) flour
3/4 cup (180 ml) white wine
2 cups (500 ml) chicken broth
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Dijon mustard
2 cups (500 ml) corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup (60 ml) small fresh basil leaves (or chopped) (optional)
Salt and pepper


1) First brown the mushrooms, and onion with oil. Then add in the bell pepper, garlic and cook for couple minutes. Then set aside.

2) In the same pan, brown the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with some flour and stir. Then deglaze with the wine (I used vinegar). Then add in the broth and mustard. Once everything is mixed add all the mushroom and veggies back into the pot. Let it simmer for 30 mins and enjoy!

Malaysia Diary – Family Trip


It was one of those rare moments that time aligned and my parents and I were able to travel somewhere together. My mom decided on Malaysia and Singapore as none of us have been. It was great to experience the two places for the first time together – trying new dishes and seeing new sites. Lot of great bonding moments and funny memories to remember.

As I am older now, traveling with the parents feels so different. Almost as if the roles have reversed. When I was younger, I wouldn’t care too much about the planning and would just follow along and was carefree. Now that I am older, I feel the need to take care of my parents. Making sure that they are hydrated, and not hungry. Helping them locate the nearest washroom, making sure they put on sunscreen and are wearing comfortable shoes. And they running around carefree – taking selfies and asking me to take pictures of them so they can send to their friends. It’s funny how things change! More the reason that I appreciate these moments more.

Port Dickson – Malaysia

We spent the first night at a beach town called Port Dickson, situated about 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. It was a quaint destination and we stayed in rooms that sat on top of the water. However, smoke from the forest fires from Indonesia created a smokey setting and we didn’t get a chance to see the sun much.

Melaka – Malaysia

We also went down south a bit more and visited the historic Melaka Town, rich in colonial history of Dutch and Portuguese. Lots of great churches and heritage sites.

My mom decided to buy me this hat! Lol! How could I resist?

Durian Feast with the best guide!

My mom loves Durian, so of course we had to take a durian tour. We decided to try the highest level of the durian family (didn’t even know that existed). We purchased the Mao Shan Wang Durian at $78 CAN for One! I know! huh?? It’s suppose to be only available in the Malaysia region.  The taste and smell of this Mao Shan Wang Durian was very pungent. It has a very buttery, milky textured and a very strong flavor. If you are not a fan, you will need to stay far far away!

The streets were filled with food and that was my favorite part of the trip. Lots and lots of food. There was a large mixtures of Chinese, Malay and Indian food all around.The official religion in Malaysia is Islam, so their poultry is handled with Hala Standards. Also half of the population is Muslim therefore they do not consume pork. I ate lots of chicken and fish – I didn’t see much beef anywhere as well.

sweating with my roasted chicken wings take away!

Malaysia is definitely a place full of culture with mixes of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences. It was a very eye-opening place to visit with great history. If want to experience the true feel of the Malaysian culture you must leave the city of Kuala Lumpur and visit smaller towns and make your way down to Singapore!

Until next time!


Maui Photo Diary

view from balcony – Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Here are some photos from my recent trip to Maui. I was blessed enough to be a bridesmaid to a long time friend for her Oahu wedding and I decided to pop by Maui for a quick trip as I have never been. What a great idea it was……It is much more calm than Waikiki and you really get the feeling of being on a tropical island.

I loved the beaches, the calmness and the beauty of the whole island. It is such a relaxing place filled with outdoor activities. I thought that I would be catching up on lots of reading and just beach bumming around. That definitely was not the case – there is so much to see and places to snorkel. I basically did no reading.

Breakfast Buffet

my fav beach for Snorkeling -kapalua bay

Kapalua Bay was my favourite snorkeling spot. The water was clear and calm. This is where I saw my first sea turtle. I have snorkeled many times and it was here that I got to swim with 2 turtles! After checking out other snorkeling spots we eventually came back here.

Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve

up at 10,000 ft -Haleakala Crater. After a crazy rain storm

We took a morning trip up to the Haleakala Crater (I had to drive the whole way up cause I get motion sickness easily). Even though I drove, I still felt woozy – it is a long and windy drive especially when it was down-pouring and oh so very foggy! Most people drive up here really early to catch the sunrise but we were already too late as I was driving so slow.

When we finally got up there we couldn’t see much as it was raining big droplets and very foggy. We waited for 30 minutes then the weather changed very quickly. We were even lucky enough to spot a beautiful rainbow. The landscapes up at the summit is very unique – makes you feel like you are very far from the world. 

last sunset….

Until next time!


Montreal Eats

On my recent trip to Montreal, I definitely ate more than needed. It also didn’t help that I was in the capital of poutine and it’s one of my faves!

Below are some of my eats from the trip and places that are worth visiting if you are in the Montreal area.

Poutine La Banquise

Poutine La Banquise
994, rue Rachel Est
Montréal, Quebec
Canada, H2J 2J3

The poutines here are delicious with a bunch of different varieties to choose from. This place is open 24/7. Twice we had late night poutine after big dinners. It sure didn’t sit well for my waistline! The funny thing is that we weren’t the only ones. On both occasions- we had to wait in line for at least 20 mins (on a week night).

Park Restaurant 


Park Restaurant
378 Victoria Ave, Westmount,
QC H3Z 2N4 Canada

Pairs the purity of traditional Japanese cuisine with Korean and South American flavours. We did a traditional 5 course Omakase tasting menu where the chef selected the dishes. Each dish complemented each other very well with unique flavours, textures and fresh ingredients. I also loved that the chef would watch for our eating speed and adjusted accordingly. A very good and unique dining experience.

Schwartz’s – Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwiches

3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard
Montreal, Quebec
H2W 1X9

This place is a must try in Montreal! The flavour of the smoked meat is light and as you can see they give you lots of if. I paired it with fries, a pickle and cherry cola.

Pizzeria Napoletana

Pizzeria Napoletana
189 Dante Street Montreal, QC, H2S 1K1

A great place in Little Italy that serves traditional thin crust pizzas and pasta. You can also bring your own wine to enjoy with your meal. The atmosphere is fun and relaxing. Great place to dine and unwind after hours of exploring.

Until next time Montreal!

Summer Bliss!

Furry Creek

Although we had an early start to summer because of the great weather this year, I didn’t get a chance to do anything summery until the start of this month. It hit me hard when all the stores started changing to fall inventory. Made me realize that summer isn’t around for too much longer….

We were lucky enough to get invited up to our good friend’s aunties place for a fun day up in Furry Creek. We tried to squeeze as many activities in as possible and had a great time paddle boarding (eeek, my first time!), enjoying the refreshing water and even hitting a few golf balls. We had such a great time! Did I mention the views?

As I am away in Hawaii for a wedding and will be missing my mom’s birthday this year, I decided to take her and my mom-in-law to the Scandinave Spa Whistler for a relaxing getaway. It was such a rejuvenating experience. We followed their suggested routine starting from warming our bodies in one of their pools, steam room or sauna – followed by a cool dip and then relaxing in one of their relaxation areas. My favourite is the hammock haven situated at the top with a serene view of the mountains. It was the first time in a very long that I didn’t care about time and could really focus and clear my thoughts.

Scandinave Spa Whistler – view from the hammock haven

sneaking in a bare-faced glow selfie



Mildred’s Temple Kitchen Toronto – Brunch

Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

On the second day in Toronto, my friend who moved there in recent years recommended Mildred’s Temple Kitchen for brunch. Her exact words were “you must try their pancakes, I don’t usually like pancakes…but its so goooood there!” Once I heard those words, I knew I had to go get me some pancakes!

And seriously, the blueberry buttermilk pancakes at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is one of the best pancakes I ever had (close or on par with the pancakes I had at Bills Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku). Such a fluffy and light texture that warms the mouth – sweetness from the maple syrup and a bit of tartness from the blueberries. Perfect combination!

Hubby went with The Manhandler which consists of flat-iron steak topped on a garlic sourdough with two sunny side up eggs and some arugula. It was very delicious and satisfying as well. The steak had great flavour and the eggs were cooked just right.

Oh yes…I will be back!


Weekend Sparkles

This weekend was such a fast one – when Sunday night came around I felt a bit disoriented. Really? is tomorrow really Monday?

Even with the cooler temperatures, most of the time was spent outdoors with Miss Doo Thang. We decided to try some hiking trails around my mom’s place. Of course I never have proper footwear …and slipped. Which then turned into a giggling fest.

Also, got some much needed girls time with an appies night (and a beautiful bridal shower. The weekend ended with some family time and a nice birthday bbq.

Weeeee! Can’t wait for long weekend coming up!

Girl’s Night – spoiled by the host

bridal shower for the beautiful bride-to-be!

started the weekend with a lunch for one!

Bridal Shower – Tea Party

The very next day after arriving back from Montreal – the other bridesmaids and I threw a cute, tea bridal shower for our sweet bride-to-be. We tried to keep her bridal shower to a similar feel as the upcoming wedding with soft colours and tones. We had a dessert table, candy table with lots of decorative vintage tea cups and cute baby pictures all scattered. We were lucky enough that one of the bridesmaids still had all her decorations from her wedding. With some new additions, it was a perfect blend.  We also managed to come up with some very creative games that included a life-size print out of her hubby-to-be! It was a sweet, magical afternoon filled with delicious yummies (spoiled by the future brother-in-laws of the bride).

Thinking back about that day feels so surreal. Some of us girls have known each other since elementary school and to see one another grow and move into new chapters of our lives really makes me cherish all of our moments together. Time does move oh so quickly as all of us are busy with our day-to-day but these special moments are what we will remember and look back upon. 

Toronto & Montreal – Quick Update

Wedding season has officially begun! One of my closest friend from high school held his wedding in Toronto last week and we were lucky enough to share his special day. We decided to take a quick trip to Montreal right after since we have never been and it is the home to the great poutine (one of my favorite things to eat ever!). We spent 4 quick days in Toronto then made our way on Via Rail Canada to Montreal. Coincidentally, a bunch of our mature friends also decided to visit Montreal and it became a wonderful rendezvous. Other than non-stop eating, The Jazz Festival was also in town so we had the opportunity to experience that as well as Canada Day celebrations. Below are a few pictures from the trip. I will compile a video and a more detailed post soon. So stay tuned!

View from Mount Royal

Public Piano at Mount Royal

View from Old Montreal

Enjoying the Jazz Festival in Montreal

The Famous Smoked Meat Sandwich with a side of cherry cola, pickle and fries at Schwartz’s Montreal

distillery district toronto

Wedding Celebration!



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