Seasons are changing

4.25.2015

 Its weird to hear the sound of cars driving through the rain. It sounds like ocean waves and wind colliding. I love seeing puddles out in my backyard (the rooftop) and watching those grey clouds roll in. I was able to enjoy an hour of chillin on the roof all cozy up in a warm blanket and alone to my thoughts. Nols was inside enjoying a movie. Its crazy all this talk of a drought and this rain comes in. Yes, we get our share of fog (more in the City) but nothing like a  sky drowning in clouds. This cold calls for some smores and Ghrohl.



Its too bad Nols isn't into sweets and my fat self has to eat all of this to myself. Sigh...
Look at that melted delicious that gooey stuff..
Seasons are changing here in the Tong home. Although I feel like we are doing a lot of the same ole routine, our attitudes are improving. Our stamina to give things a whole heartfelt chance is going the distance. This week I realized how much I really enjoyed sharp cheddar cheese but only the six year old aged kind. Which isn't something you can purchase just anywhere locally. Also, I realized I only care for pork with Vietnamese food. My affinity for pork started in my home because that is all I ate. Southeast Asians eat a lot of pork. (Everything is relatable to food and makes my life so much easier.)

Change is so good. Sadly when it involves our friends I can't help but to wonder if we are on that list? Where will the winds will take us next. So far, we have no plans on moving plus my sister just moved back and its so nice being able to see a lot of her. Nols and I have lived away before but where will  our forever home be. The thought is exciting. I guess the crave for change is strong and its something a lot of our friends get because of all the kids they are having. Life is constantly changing for them. 

It does break my heart every time my adorable and aging father-in-law asks if we will be moving to Utah to be closer to them. I am open-minded but Utah is the last place I could see myself. They have improved their food options for sure especially the asian markets (and they have a whole foods too!!) 
I could live there but not as an active member in the religious community that Im apart of. Ive been heavily slandered by some out here and I felt like I barely made it. If I went through something like that again, I know I wont make it. I just know myself. Noone is perfect but lets just say their is a reason why most of my closest friends are either non-religious, have left the Faith, or the ones who are apart of this Faith  (not too mention so awesomely and incredibly opinionated) but just keep to themselves. Living in the Bay, the focus is on you as a human. Ive had so many interesting experiences in Utah where people were more interested in the type of volunteer work I would do within the Church and Im not use to that kind of talk. I didn't grow up privilege and as I get older I start to see how doors are more open to the privilege and wonder if its something I really want for my own family. The Bay just feels so real. No faking the front. No facade of any kind. Again, what do I know. I'm still young in this Church and have so much to learn... Maybe by being there the perception will change. I still get the strange questions asked, "What is it like living in Sf as a religious person?" Honestly, no different from the next person in another state.

Recently, I did read something somewhere that said, "You aren't religious enough until you have gotten slandered by someone in your Faith." I just laughed because I really understood that.

Another note, I swear my neighbors has a snore machine. Or, someone likes to sleep all day, all night, and anytime we are home. I take that over the people who were cooking some strange smelling chemically stuff anytime. 


Record Store Day : Needle to the Groove

4.22.2015

Ive been hesitant over the years to blog about where I live but now, I dont care. Its quite clear on my social media that I live in the Sf, Bay. Well, let me introduce you to one of my favorite shops that I love in the little "town" that I live in within my city of East Bay.
Growing up, I was a little too familiar for wall art as I used to be a "tagger." (Nothing like vandalizing walls as teen, right. *sarcasm*) Well, I always have an love for murals and good wall art. (I fell in love with 5 pointz during one of my trips to NYC. walking around there i was in heaven)

The equivalent to cassette tape cases, CD cases and USBs.  haha
 I will always love young Elvis
I love this for so many reasons. I actually remember hearing this played growing up.
 Sing it with me, "who's that girrrrrl."
  Im a jazz girl and the jazz collection here is probably one of the largest Ive seen from a record shop of this size. I can just listen all day to Satchmo. Im glad Im not alone with this love.

 Sooo back to this town... We have lived here for almost ten years and it has so much personality. The homes aren't generic, the people are so friendly, and it just has so much character. Recently, I got news that another friend of mine is moving away and out of state. That makes 18 couples and Im tired of this!! lol I realized that if we end up moving I haven't shared my favorite part of my life with Nols here on the blog and how its been a great home to us over the years.

And, yes, I still live majority of my social media time on my Instagram. Its my playground for my wannabe creativity. I sho need an outlet since I dont drink anymore. lol

ESSJ: My hood

4.16.2015


Taken at a Highschool dance. Circa 1995
(Bottom Left) Black nails, a choker, Aqua net to the MAX on my head of hair. Life in the 90's def influenced by the Craft/emo life that's for sure except Im surprised I wore a white shirt. I wore a lot of black back then and still do....

That look on my face is a very common in my hood and we all weren't trying to look so hard. We def did own that resting b**** face. I mean, who in East San Jose didn't just own that look. If I had easy access to my photos from back then, Id show proof of dance pics of groups and groups of students with the SAME LOOK. 

Granted, I had a lot of time to practice it in my youth. Yeah, I owned that stare. I mean I was protective of my younger adorable sis right there. This is look of my life growing up in essj: my hood. Finding these two photos on my FB last week made me smile so. damn. big.


I grew up in the Sf, Bay Area (or, I guess its called San Francisco South Bay) in San Jose specifically EAST San Jose. It has its own kind of flavor. I like what urban dictionary has to say about it here. (Yes, it is filled with Latinos and Vietnamese. Woot Woot!!) I feel so lucky to have grown up there and have had some influence on my life (good and bad). My mom being an immigrant from Vietnam during the war, ended up here sometime after she arrived to the States. I feel like it was meant to be to be living in the area now known as Little Saigon. Many shops that sold Banh Mi and the best street tacos too. Chillen at the Fairgrounds, or cruising Santa Clara street in the evenings followed by a late sesh of being night owls in the City (SF).

This just seemed the perfect segway for me writing about what really makes my heart beat in my life and share it onto this blog. I feel like that because I'm Lds person who blogs, I can (and have) been easily grouped into the honkey dory Mormons stereotype that came from a seriously so blessed life. Or, Im some mechanical human that just forcefully lives life according to my religion. Sloooooooow your role. Not this girl. Though sometimes I feel like I terribly pride myself on not coming from the background I do that is because Im just owning it. Im not trying to front it.

I had more downs than ups while living in the ghetto poor parts of east san jose. Well, I wouldn't change it for the world. I may be religious and live my life as some view in an ultra super tight organized religion but it has brought me so much freedom from the chaotic life I grew up in. In a lot of ways, I feel that I have much more freedom NOW than before and I was a true free spirit.
 
Holding back on this blog about this part of my life that makes up the whole of me has been the very noose that has been suffocating me. Sharing this is so freeing. Im not for over sharing but Im for transparency. I feel that because many bloggers out there like to post such a perfect, happy, and clean lives that it has discouraged people from sharing what is genuine, the good, the bad, and even the ugly. (you dont have to be graphic but just be honest) I just feel that the blogging world has become so stale even generic sometimes. THERE IS NO NEED FOR THIS. OWN YOUR DIFFERENCES. I know God doesn't see us differently based on our socioeconomic status as he loves and accepts each of us equally, ya know. Im down for that!

Looking for the good whereever it is..

3.30.2015


Looking for the good whereever it is and right now its on that table. Im a sashimi girl all the way but a few rolls with lots of sauce couldn't hurt every now and then, right? As long as my soy sauce has lots of wasabi in it (the kind when you breathe it in it makes your eyes water) than its all good. :)

Recently, I am finding my heart being filled with love and peace. I wrote on my IG a little bit of what is going on. More and more lately, Ive debated on sharing any part of my life. I really dont believe anymore I have something to offer especially to help inspire others to look for the good, to move forward, to look for the good. I dont know..

However, Ive been wanting to get somethings off my chest and I will divulge.

1. Blogging isn't for the faint of heart. This is my observation from little experience and dont expect me writing any books about it either. har har I will say expanding my horizon in the blogging world has help me see some of the pretentious and catty ways it seems to be ruled by. This isn't something that I do NOT allow to exist in my world. However, I have seen much much good in it too. I have met some seriously good great people who keep it very real and I keep them close to my heart. They aren't afraid of being themselves outside a blog and have been such a great example to me. 

Now I dont know where I fit in the blogging world and I really dont care anymore. I dont even do sponsorships or try to make money off of it either. Im so inconsistent and I really need to quit. Ill get there. :)) I just know its been another great source for curious, fault-finding eyes to go and a place for anonymous haters to snark on. Also, Ive been burned bloggers, you can't help but to rethink the point of blogging. I mention this to not warrant pity but it seems to be happening more and more and I want no part in it. (Granted, blogging has been dying so why even the effort now) I do realize that not all Bloggers are in it to use you as a stepping stone to get them to the next level like some sick popularity game. Aaaaaaaaand, Ive had people I used to know find fault with everything on this here blog but did I let it get to me. (Kinda but not anymore. lolol) Like I said, you gotta roll with it. I will say it has been a great release for my wannabe blogger ways. I just want to not only look for the good but promote good, ya know. Whatever that is........

2. Instagram is my thang and that is where I live. Enough said. I went with my heart to pursue that more even though it freaked me out and I dont regret it. I can guarantee you're not going to see a face-filled IG account from this girl. Well, maybe if I was blessed with good looks but not this girl.. Maybe that will change but for now, Im trying to promote uplifting in my own way even if its something I ate and is a bunch of delicious donuts!! haha Oh and check out #pnwneedsmorecowbell for one of my fav IG adventures from last Dec. Oh, PNW, you have my heart <3 br="" long="" love="" me="" time.="" you="">

3. I am making changes to some things on this blog to keep it authentic to the bone. I really need to lose some weight figuratively speaking. I wish this was true in real life. Im just not that disciplined anymore. Helloooo, look at that delicious photo. :))

4. My skin is thick aaaaaaaaaaaaaand that can/has/does intimidate others. My life experiences do make me stand out especially in the religious community that Im apart of. I used to not understand why this is so but hey, I got crazy life experiences. I no longer shame myself for that. That is why my friends got some serious heart and character. Y'all need to stop moving away too. Another post for another dayyyyyyyy.

4.5. Lets be real clear, I didn't grow up privilege, Im not one of those competitive beezys either, and I treasure diversity. Diversity in culture, spirituality, thought,  FOOD, opinions... If you can't respect mine as I do for yours. Well, goodbye felicia. Im pretty sure if you dont like me then the feeling may be mutual but I really dont care. 

5. I love making new friends within the blog and IG world. So if you are one of those that are who is genuine, honest,down for IG adventures, love to talk and EAT... Lets do this.


Whew, it feels good to express that.

I can't believe its almost April!!!!

The kid thang

11.24.2014

Often I feel like tha tone bird chillen by itself doing its own thang. Honestly, I couldn't anymore happier. Table for one, please. :)
Its kinda surreal that Im at this point in my life. Im back in school, hopefully going back to full time work, and still no kids. Its not that our relationship isnt at a point where we dont want to have babies. They just aren't coming so you move on. I have to survive and if I dont move on, Im going to be depressed again. Its the truth folks. Im not giving up at all but its my reality.

With that said, I LOVE that Im in school and trying at this getting healthy/loving my body for what it is/gym thang AGAIN. Its true when youre in your mid-thirties, youre paying for what you did or didn't do in your twenties....

As for college, it was was never really in the plans as I was often trying to figure out the next meal as a single person. I was in survival mode. When I was 22, I had a full time job, contributing into a 401k, and taking care of my sister. (yet still living paycheck to paycheck) I was def not a responsible person but I had priorities to handle and I mos def had no family to rely on. It was just my sister and I. Thangs are so different now and I feel backwards. Most people go to college and finish then get married. Well, Im stoked I can be in college now. Im not getting younger and want to move on with this part of my life.

On another note, California, bring me some RAIN!!!We just had some and it was a blank of an eye. Oh where have Ive been? Ive been on my Instagram a lot more. No, I still am not plastering my face all over the my instagram feed. I feel the reason is.. well, my story is about the world around me. Not me. You get those kinds of details on me blog. If I'm ever on here anymore. ha

Blog Talk: Blogging boundaries

10.30.2014



Ive been writing in this here blog for awhile. It started off as something for my family but they were never really good at keeping up yet I still kept writing. I tried the sponsoring other blogs and jumping in on the game that way but I felt like I started prematurely. Having been a Contributor on a bigger blog, I started to learn the ropes yet, again, I still felt very green.I have learned somethings though....

Im very curious to know what your blogging boundaries are. Here are some of mine:

1. Blog at least once a week. This is a new goal versus once a month or whenever Im in the mood.
2. Just writing to write. Whatever is on my mind and sleeve. That can be a little dangerous.
3. Keep the drama off the blog yet shared lessons learned.
4. Photoshop - Only if it helps tell my story but not in the way where it alters me and you meet me in person and think WTF!!                              
5. Be ME. Be real even without any Photoshop, on trend clothing, hair and nails did.
6. Little religion. We are religious folks over here but we aren't the shove it down your throats kind of people. If you want to know.. you are welcome to inquire for yourself and I wont stop you at all.If I have an experiences that causes me to share my beliefs, I will. I just dont ever believe in force feeding my beliefs into your world. Boundaries peoplesss
7. No "your life is perfect" blogging. I believe in protecting relationships but Im not gonna play that Im happy all the time because Im not. Just being real folks.
8. Have Blogging friends - Im friends with bloggers who I really know off the blog. Its so nice to have friends who are bloggers because they get the woes of blogging and can relate. With that being said, I chose carefully. I like to keep people in my world who are very real, honest, and have depth. Superficial friendships hasn't ever worked well with this gal.
9. Photos -  Trying to not have repeat offenders is not my thing. Differant images on my IG vs my blog. It doesn't seem that difficult anyway. I think I may have been guilty of sharing whats on IG onto my blog and for me, it had to stop.  *two snaps and neck roll*
10.Sponsored content - I am not sure when this is appropriate. Ive read people hating on rstyle links and for some, its their job. Ive read how it adversely affects authenticity on a blog. Any thoughts? I dont seeing it be a problem but then again, its a fine line. Its a great thing working for brands too!
11. Little mention of other family members other than my husband and I. Keeps the content to us and it helps protects them.
12. Deleting comments whose opinions that oppose my views unless its outright rude or Anonymous.
13. Dont single out people or reference them. Got drama with them, talk to them personally and I keep it off the blog. On the reals, I just always deal with people unless they are just unbearable but I do try to talk to them directly. 

So, what are some of  your blogging boundaries? Lets learn together. :)

p/s: Go Sf Giants!!! Tempted to join in on the parade tomorrow but it will be ghrasie!!

SF Giants, it rained, and I want a caramel apple.

10.26.2014


This is proof that it stormed. It all lasted not even a few minutes but, hey, it rained! I am trying to not be too serious on the very serious drought issue we are having but it hits me when it finally rains; how bad it really is. Well, it was long enough to rinse off the ocean water from my car. I hope so.

Earlier today, I was driving around in the City. Found myself driving on a road that was next to the lovely ocean and the waves were ripping very high onto it. When it impacted the side of the road, the waves were as high as maybe 20 feet. It would eat any car that drove on this road. Some drivers waited till the waves hit then drove on. Well, I didn't. I drove onto it, pulled over, and parked. I wanted to record these majestic waves on my camera but it had no room. I had to empty it out tonight and I was able to catch the quickie rainfall we got. Crazy how it easy to document our lives. Not wanting to miss a passing moment yet do if you get too caught up in it all. Everyone seems to have access to their own personal reality show but how real is it?

On another note, GO SF GIANTS!!!!! I wasn't at the game as soo many of my friends were. In fact, I left the city to avoid getting caught up in all the traffic and crasiness that follows these games. Ive always been a fan but not a hardcore fan (insert sport team that I like) that knows names, stats, ..insane amounts of details of each player and the teams history. (if youre one of them, more power to you). If you're a new fan, GREAT. I just always thought it was weird for people to hate on those jumping on board to be a new fan of a winning team because theyve won. I think its a great when its for a team from my home city!! :))

I have to add, nothing is more amazing then when SF unties and celebrates. Just dont get me started on when a loss has happened to one of our sport teams. Chaos ensues... c'mon city.. we can have good sportsmanship too, right? 

Great, I want a caramel apple. I saw a friends IG photo of one she went to get and its all I can think of. My oreas and milk couldn't satisfy that craving... Hmmm, now Ill have to wait till Monday. Sheesh.

Small life lessons from my world

9.17.2014


Some things I am learning from my small life span here on planet crazy:

- Food will always be there. Growing up, it was something that was scarce. Well, my weight scale will tell you I eat plenty well now. :))
- People will eventually apologize for the wrong they cause, and if not them, someone else will even their children.
- I have friends but a few I trust as if my life depended on it. It feels good to have loyal friends and they are cherished and loved. 
- Observations: No matter how much you try to run from the consequences of your past, it will catch up to you and bite you hard. Or, open doors for you.
- I used to shame myself for something that happened to me from a long long time ago. It was out of my control. Ive finally let go and it feels soo good. I feel whole and I couldnt do it without this
- I really like shoes and bags because I can still fit them no matter what waist size I am.
- I like being a girl with some weight and curves but certain organs in my body don't, so I have to really really take care of myself.
- Forgiving and moving on really does exist and it feels good. If you allow it. 
- Im spicy. Not sassy but spicy. Im not rude but I will tell you how it is and try to be sensitive about it. Lets be real, a friend will be honest with you whether you like it or not and Im that kind of person.
- In my own small way I am finding Im more artistic than I realized. Its been nice to discover this and not live life in survival mode which has interfered a lot of my self discovery when I was growing up.
- Even though I have a stable life now with a stable relationship, it doesn't change the fact that I grew up in a dysfunctional and toxic home. I had a parent who tried all she could yet failed miserably and I cant hold it against her anymore because Im in charge of my own life. Yes, some of those bad decisions of hers caused me live on and off the streets. I know hard and I realized that it can show up in my personality. Its decided that I wont be hiding the parts that make me comfortable because it makes someone else feel uncomfortable.
- PAY IT FORWARD. BE KIND. WORK HARD. LIVE AS IF NOONE IS WATCHING.
- Listening to those negative voices can cause serious harm. Prolong happiness if any. Whether these nay-sayers are right or not, that is besides the point. Ive learned that its my voice that matters most and giving that up is not ok. EVER.
- Dont participate in gossip. Don't break confidentiality. I guess its cuz I value my friends who are loyal and this is huge to me. If you want a great group of friends, exercise good principles. 
- OWN YOUR DIFFERENCES.
- I love people who aren't afraid to be themselves and are humble.
- Poach eggs are ghrasie good and so are mini waffles.
-Having met some of popular bloggers, Ive come to realize they are just normal people who are aren't afraid own their lives. I can respect that in every way regardless of personality differences.
- Not everyone wants to respect my Truth and it doesn't change the fact that it still exists for me.
- I learned recently that Im actually part Jewish too. I guess my mom was right in telling me that when she spoke little of my father. I just wished she mentioned he was part Black too.
- Life is so much better when you give back,  unconditionally.
- Im over trying to have kids and moved on. Sad but true. 
- Love begets love.

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