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Keeping Things in Perspective

“If you’re going to fail, fail in your professional life and not in your personal life.”

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Navigating life is hard but sometimes you just have to boil it down to the basics to stay laser focused.

Also, those nazis, white supremacists, Trumpers and racists who just walked into the Capitol the other day are really…sad and pathetic. They’re angry at the world and keep gulping down the kool-aid because they’re failing hard at their lives. It shows. I mean, they posted it all over social media for the world to see.

A Little Reminder for 2021

“Don’t worry about big ideas, keep making stuff. Build little things, build prototypes, makes sketches.”

Ben Chestnut

…because I need this energy for 2021.

2020 Wrap-Up: How It Started and How It Ended

Since May, I have been working my booty off to drop weight that I amassed from having a baby and coping with the pandemic (which involved a lot of beer and Cheetos / Doritos late at night).

I didn’t take any before / after photos. I wish I did BUT I did document my workouts.

@emptybamboogirl

#howitstarted #howitended #2020wrapped #2020 #lesmills #bodycombat #fitness

♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

I dropped 20lbs in 7 months with the help of..

  • my mom: She’d watch the kiddo while the Husband and I worked out.
  • the Husband: It’s easier with a buddy and he is my workout + keto buddy. He was the one who got me onto keto. I was so skeptical at first…
  • keto diet: I’ve been on a low carb diet in spurts here and there – especially when I was pregnant (I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes which sucked) but I did it without any rhyme or reason.
  • Carb Manager app: In stepped this awesome app. I tracked my macros and calories – 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbs with the goal of losing a pound a week…
  • Ozeri digital food scale: We weigh what we eat and have developed a close relationship with grams. It’s the only way to know how much we’re eating and to start being more aware of what an actual serving size is.
  • Les Mills BodyCombat: I miss training at my muay thai gym so when I found a program that combined my love of muay thai plus really amazing music tracks, I was hooked. The Husband discovered the program on Youtube. At the time, I was making use of the fitness programs on Amazon Prime and Youtube, but I kept going back to BodyCombat. In the end, we decided to sign up for on demand and haven’t looked back. There’s so much more they offer – weights, yoga, barre, dance, HIIT, cardio and more. Plus, the trainers are so inspiring. I didn’t think I could ever workout virtually, but here we are.

More than anything, it was the diet that did the trick. Eating more protein and fat keeps me full and I avoid getting crazy hangry. You can check out all the things I’ve eaten on my food IG account @JPgirlXfood.

It took me a couple months to acclimate. It was some trial and error in finding what foods work for my body (i.e., broccoli/cauliflower/asparagus F* up my system so I avoid them) as well as finding alternatives to my fave carbs like bread and chocolate chip cookies to help me stay the course.

During family dinner, I just eat the song (餸), aka the dishes that accompany the rice, and just not the rice. In place of rice, I eat a shit ton of steamed leafy greens like baby bok choy, gai lan and etc.

Anyhow, I’m really proud of this accomplishment because it was not easy. Being able to fit into my pre-baby clothes once again is a blessing…to my wallet (cuz I did not enjoy having to buy bigger pants). 🙌

Happy Glutinous Rice Ball Eating Day

…I wish there were a more sexier way of translating tang yuan (汤圆).

But, the balls are freakin delicious – both savory and sweet versions.

Happy Winter Solstice by Empty Bamboo Girl
black sesame-filled glutinous rice balls bathing in maple syrup soup

The only traditional Chinese dish I can make is the black sesame-filled glutinous rice balls. The fact that my folks request it means that they are indeed delicious.

I started making them because all the ones in the stores are imported from China and, as a family, we try and avoid food stuffs from the mainland just because they don’t have a good rep in terms of food safety. Look, I could be wrong, but here we are.

Anyhow, I decided to make some fun illustrations with my food photography in celebration.

black sesame-filled glutinous rice balls before they get cooked

NPR Creative Workshop: Telling Stories of Resilience in a Pandemic

The other day I saw a tweet promoting a creative workshop by NPR Goats & Soda focusing on comic making. Given that I’ve been stuck in another bout of creative block, I signed up.

“Telling Stories of Resilience in a Pandemic” on Sunday, December 20, 2020

Led by comic artist Laura Gao, the workshop consisted of a hands-on DIY project. We created a 3-panel strip on a scroll. The subject? Highlight a woman you admire during this pandemic.

I chose my mom because without her, I don’t know how my husband and I would be able to continue to focus on our work.

Truth be told, it’s been a long while since I’ve drawn a comic with pen and paper. Here’s what I did:

My scroll was held together with a couple pens and some Chinese bakery ribbon tie.

It was inspiring to see other people’s work, but also something that Laura said really hit me. I wish I’d been able to type it out word for word. But she said something along the lines of don’t get hung up on how your art looks. It’s all about the story and your intentions. If you create with heart, then that’s enough.

All Love for The Mandalorian

Finally watched The Mandalorian‘s final episode of season 2 last night after putting the kiddo to sleep and…OMG – what a ride from beginning, middle and end. I tried so hard to avoid the spoilers, but there was a major one that popped up in my Twitter feed that I couldn’t avoid in time so when it came to that part it wasn’t as fun. But, it was still exciting nonetheless.

Truth be told, while I was working on Star Wars character designs during my time at Mimoco, I never actually watched all the movies. So, to do my due diligence, I found all the prequel and classic episodes and had a Star Wars marathon to study up. I watched them all except for the final prequel episode because it was so joyless. To this day, I can’t bring myself to slog through that final installment. It sits untouched in the dvd case.

As a whole, I found the series to be…meh. All this love for Boba Fett and he was only in a scene for five seconds? I didn’t get it.

Fast forward to the release in 2016 of Rogue One. That movie slayed. I absolutely loved it. The story was written well and I actually cared about all the characters. Plus, it was a fun ride.

Then, The Rise of Skywalker drops with so much anticipation. The old gang – Leia, Han, Luke and Chewbacca – are back along with new characters who were…Asian and Black! Yes, to finally including people who aren’t White. But the story was clunky and I was super disappointed with how Rose and Finn were relegated to the background while this weird romance that was never developed took center stage at the end. What was I watching?

I was left in a sea of meh again so I rewatched Rogue One to keep the faith that Star Wars was worth it.

But then…but then…The Mandalorian releases, aka the only reason why I subscribe to Disney+ and even open the app.

That series has everything. It’s funny and fun. There’s Grogu / The Child / Baby Yoda whose little baby cheeks I just want to squish. I root for all the characters. Most of all, that love the Mandalorian – and everyone – has for Grogu gets to my heart…heart – that’s what it has.

Bravo to the writing and art teams for creating a Star Wars universe that has transformed me into a Star Wars fan. Finally.

A Bad Moms Christmas

I needed to purge myself of all the terrible Netflix romcom holiday flicks I’ve been inflicting upon myself. Why?

But then, this saved me… I mean, it’s not great as a whole but it’s the kind of movie where there are just amazing scenes.

Here are my favorites:

I can see myself using my own son to take the hits in order to avoid getting hit.
LMFAO. This was more romantic than any holiday romcom Netflix movie I’ve watched so far.
Most romantic ending.