Winter Wonders

IMG_1359You heard the newsman. There’s going to be snow! What’s the first thing you think of? Oh great, it’s time to bring out the shovel! Tell me that thought didn’t run through your head?

I always look forward to the winters in the North East, but once the first snowfall hits, I realize that it’s not as fun as when I was a kid. I used to love pressing my nose against the window, watching the fat snowflakes float down, or stand out and look up at the sky and pretend I’m flying through space, or even just jumping onto the fresh layer of snow and making snow angels. Seriously, where has time gone?

It’s been so long since I’ve sat down next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket and read a holiday story. Or even just stay in for the day to watch Christmas movies before Christmas arrives.

Now I catch myself glaring out the window at the fluffy white stuff covering the grounds and the salt trucks driving pass my house and chugging salt at my car. I’m not going to tell you that I have a bake-a-thon like most normal people around the holidays, because truthfully, I wouldn’t recommend inviting me into a kitchen around this time of year…as I’d be the one eating all the cookies before you can let them cool and package them up nice….DSC00881

Winter is wonderful! It brings the blues at time, but do you remember the wonderful things that occur around this time of year? Remember the first snowball fight you’ve ever had? The first time you’ve put on your fancy new snowboots? Or watch your dog traipse through your snow-covered lawn?

So I’ve decided that I’m going to take a day off. Shoot! Maybe I’ll take two days off and just curl up next to the fireplace with my mug of hot chocolate and a Christmas story to warm my heart.

What makes you happy around this time of  year?

Comment and enter to win a holiday story you can read right next to your fireplace! Remember to check out the other blogs!

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About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

Family Traditions and Values – It’s what makes you special.

It’s November! And Thanksgiving is coming soon and then Black Friday hits, and before you know it, Christmas is here and New Year’s will be around the corner… Pretty scary, right? But to me, they’re just holidays that I’ve grown up with and learned to enjoy and appreciate, but technically, I really don’t celebrate them… (Don’t gasp at me!)

For me, I have to say I was pretty lucky to grow up with Asian parents and then I had my American parents, which consisted of my older sister and older brother. They enjoyed making sure we learned about the American culture and celebrating American holidays since we do live in America. As I got older and went through grade school and middle school, I didn’t really understand why I was so different from the other kids. I wanted to be like everyone else, except I had different responsibilities and higher expectations for being my parent’s kid. IMG_0707

Growing up, I never really thought much of traditions. I just got excited that my parents didn’t have to work on holidays, and we got to eat good! They’d cook noodles and rice or put together a hot pot, which consists of savory broth that you cook your vegetables and meat in and eat each morsel as it’s done. All our holidays and family times centered around food (which probably explains why I need a personal trainer or nutritionist to control my relationship with food).

Sundays were our big family dinner days. My parents loved to cook and had taken their passion in food and made it a career by opening their own restaurant when I was nine. And I’ll admit, I took it for granted. Now that it’s been years since I’ve lived home, I hadn’t realized how much love and appreciation of food is ingrained in my culture and values.

Each year, we would go visit our ancestor’s graves and pay our respects. We’ll spend time together to watch Asian dramas, listen to Asian music and have debates on Asian history.

I thank my parents for giving me everything they have, for teaching me of our ways and what makes me special and different from everyone else. I’m culturally well-rounded and speak a different language, which may be more than what most people were given. What they’ve given me and taught me is great, in that I wish and I hope I’ll have the chance to pass down their traditions and values to the next generation. Traditions should never die as it makes a family more unique and special from others.

What are some of your family traditions and values?

 

About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

Freak me out!

It’s that time of year! Partly through Fall, and of course, ghosts and goblins are here to come out to play, and I’m sure you’ll be dressed as one or you’ll encounter one before the end of the month.

Usually Halloween makes me think of everything scary…and who wants that? Okay, I may be a little boring and not as thrilling as most but…I’m a chicken all right! I get scared from watching Scary Movie 3 (no joke. I see that girl from the well along the side of the road…and I admit, I get nightmares from funny scary movies. Don’t judge!).

Here’s five things that also freak me out:

1. Killer scenes in my writing when I attempt to write suspense – okay, so I scare myself here, but I can’t help it if my muse likes to mess with me.

2. My wardrobe not fitting me – who can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe? You can? Adopt me!

3. Chucky…and his girlfriend-maybe it’s a childhood thing, but my sister used to make me watch it with her and I would have nightmares for a week straight.

4. Superstitions that come true- my parents are pretty superstitious. Every time they call me and tell me that their eye is twitching and to be careful…I want to hide under the bed covers and bubble wrap myself!

5. Extinction of cupcakes – who can live without cupcakes?

Okay, I may sound nutty, but they’re true!

So tell me, what makes you scared or freak out?

 

About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

Where’s your writing spot?

DSC_0149.JPGStop!

Take a deep breath.

Do you smell the air? The scent of flowers teasing your nose or maybe the aroma of barbeque floating from the nearby street stands?

Do you hear the sounds of the rolling waves? Or the toot of the ship docking by the pier?

DSC00772How about the stillness of mountains? Or do you feel the texture of sand between your toes?

Now reach for that drink…and open your eyes.

It’s amazing where your imagination may take you but wouldn’t the real thing be so much better?

I’ve traveled so much in the past few years and find that different places have sparked different ideas for my writing. No matter where I go, my imagination always brings me back to Hawaii–to the white beaches, blue waters, sweet smell of ocean air, and corn grilling on stands on the side of the road.

Depending on my mood, I always find that I write best when I can relax and push all my everyday life worries out of my mind. Yes, it may take a lot of wine for that to happen, but Hawaii has always given me that freedom to let my muse run buck wild.

I love sitting on the beach with my notebook and spending the afternoon plotting or lounging on my back porch with my laptop while I watch the sunset. Sometimes I used to walk the golf course in my backyard and count the exotic birds that would stop by or fly above my head while I’m outlining my stories in my mind (Of course, I’m running away the minute I know they see me…).

DSC01047I miss the days of peace and quiet, of being able to take the time for myself. Whether or not I’m still in Hawaii, my mind always brings me back to where I’ve found the most joy and peace.

So go on that trip you’ve always wanted to and venture to wherever your heart brings you. Experience it. Say it’s research.

Find your writing spot. Where do you envision it to be? Where do you most want to go?

Mine would have hot men climbing trees down the street…

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About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

Summer Freedom

Freedom…

To sit by the pool

…and the beach

Go on trips

Soak up the sun

Visit city fairs

Eat corn dogs

Excuse to go shopping for Summer Clothes!

Okay, so maybe Summer isn’t the only time to be free, but when this hot, hot, hot season rolls around, these are all the things I think about.

I’m definitely not a heat person, but then I don’t like the cold either. What can I say? I’m a hard person to please… But I do love the things that I can associate with summer. Who can resist all that happy sunshine and festival food? (Make sure you throw me in an air conditioner as an option in case I roast too long outside.)

I have to say my best summer was in Hawaii. Okay, maybe it was my best year…

First Cruise

First I went on a cruise. First cruise ever! And it was pretty amazing…except for my friends having motion sickness the whole trip… But the food, the ocean air, the stops on exotic islands, and shopping–totally impressive! I would do it again if I could…

DSC_0032Then my move to Hawaii, where I experienced the hottest months of my life (I’m talking about whether for those whose minds wander…). The weather was gorgeous everyday. My trips to the beach were fun and careful, and I’ve never seen bluer water. Along with the amazing food, cultural experiences, I had no trouble adapting to Bohemian life. I consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity.

The opportunity to experience life and freedom away from home was the best gift I had ever gave myself. It was my best summer–my summer where I had the chance to reflect upon life and figure out what I really wanted, which was to write. And it was also the time, I had the chance to find myself. DSC_0058

Summer brings me freedom and the chance for me to wind down and remind myself that I need to slow down and enjoy life.

What does Summer mean to you?

About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

5 Things NOT To Do When Planning a Wedding

What do I know about weddings?

Nothing really…

I remember the first time I was asked to be in a wedding, all I could think about was being able to dress up, wear a gown, get my hair and nails done, and whirl around in my dress with one of the groomsman, just like prom! Except I really didn’t get to pick my date. That was interesting.

When my best friend got married, I actually got to help her plan the wedding as her maid of honor, and let me share with you 5 things NOT to do when planning:

1. Listen to everyone but yourself – Yeah, we know there’s all these voices talking to you at once, what you should have, what you shouldn’t have, what needs to be done, what you shouldn’t do. It’s exhausting! But you need to go with your gut and find what you want because it’s YOUR day!

2. Let your mom pick your bridesmaids – Don’t do it! You think I’m joking? If you put all your cousins, sisters, and childhood friends in your wedding party because your mom said so, it may equate to disaster if you’re not close to any of these people! Even if they’re family! Your wedding party should be filled with people you love, people you want to help you celebrate this day by your side, people who are dependable and make sure you are where you’re supposed to be at certain times, people who will contribute to making the day dedicated to you and your love extra special! Remember, this is only once in a lifetime!

3. Wait until last minute – Do you want a nice wedding or something just totally thrown together? Why would you want to be running around crazy right before the big day? I’m telling you, you do not want your wedding to be a nightmarish memory when it could be a day of wonder! Get organize and plan, plan, plan! We waited until two days to look for flowers for the reception and let me tell you…BIG MISTAKE!

4. Forget Dancing! Let’s karaoke! – Um…yeah, all I have to say is DON’T DO IT!

5. Forget about taking care of yourself – It’s your day. It’s your life. As much as planning is important, you still have to remember that your happiness and the future is more important than the wedding itself. So don’t go crazy!

So those are my words of wisdom. Planning weddings even though they were not mine was fun, and I know for sure I’ll be better prepared when it’s my turn!

What’s your wedding advice?

Wedding Favors I made as the Maid of Honor! It's a lot of work!

Wedding Favors I made as the Maid of Honor! It’s a lot of work!

 

About Clarissa Yip

Constantly on the run, Clarissa leads the life of adventure and mischief. When she's not getting herself in trouble, she's usually busy studying the art of eating and curling up with a good book or spending numerous hours reading and writing. It's really hard to find her in one place for too long...

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