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.

Aggretsuko Red Rage Plush

This plush fully expresses rage in color, shape, body position and the directional of her hair/fur. This design is winning.

Aggretsuko Red Rage 7" Plush

On Life Quote

Thank you Tina Roth / Swiss Miss. I really needed to hear this today:


The “Shit Sandwich” Quote

This quote swissmiss posted is everything. It’s not about what you’re passionate about. It’s about the shit you’re willing to take for it. Can’t wait to read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.


What Am I Doing with My Life?!

I spent Monday night watching a pretty shitty holiday movie on Netflix. I fast forwarded so many cringe-y scenes. And yet…I watched part 2.

Can I blame this on the pandemic?


Hello Kitty & Friends in Puffer Down Jackets

Over the past few days, so many Hello Kitty / Sanrio collaborations have been released – with The Hundreds, East West Shop and more. But what really caught my eye were these plushies – they’re brilliant!

Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Chococat, Pochacco, Keroppi and Aggretsuko in puffer down jackets…and winter knit pom pom hats 😍



“I’m not here for your purpose. I’m here for mine.”

Brené Brown