Minimalism + Anxiety | My Journey

Hi everyone, it’s Clara.

For those of you who remember my commentary on minimalism and how adopting the lifestyle has helped me and Zhi for the better, let’s do a quick recap on what our definition of minimalism is.

  • A home where we only have what we need and what makes us happy
  • An efficient lifestyle where we can go about our daily routines with little hassle
  • A way to focus on the more important things in our lives

Since the last post on the topic, did I notice any changes to our lives? Here’s my journey below the cut!

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ONE OK ROCK Concert

So on August 14th, 2017, I had the ABSOLUTE pleasure to attend a ONE OK ROCK concert!

I’ve been waiting for a whole year, since I learned that they actually included Sacramento to their tour twice, so I definitely kept my eye out when they announced their North American tour.

And sure enough, I got my hands on a VIP ticket to the concert at Ace of Spades.

So to start off my day, I came into work at 6:30AM so I can leave earlier than normal to make it in time for the show.
I worked. I drove. I found parking (and luckily did not get a ticket). And I got in line for the VIP session.
It is my first time doing anything VIP so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I really wanted to make them all a gift, but thought that security wouldn’t allow it, especially with current news/events….but then I got an email, while I was in line that gifts were okay…I was really bummed.

Anywho, I got the VIP badge, stood in the heat for about an extra hour and BAM! The line started moving and dudeeee we all were that much closer to ONE OK ROCK!

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For VIP, we all got an autographed CD of their latest album Ambition, hugs, handshakes, photos with them, early access to the concert, and first dibs on merchandise.
The VIP ticket was less than $100, and I would say it is totally worth it, especially for a Japanese rock band touring.

Here is a pic of their album and a pic of me with them:

I absolutely spazzed when I went up to meet them. I couldn’t believe that they were really there. When the security/announcer person say hugs were okay as long as we don’t lift them, I DIED!

When it was my turn to go up, I hugged them all and I wanted to say, ‘I can’t believe you guys are really here and this is happening.’ But all that came out was, ‘ Are you guys real?’ WAY TO SOUND INTELLIGENT LINDA! A+
But luckily they didn’t think it was weird (I hope). Taka responded, ‘Yes, for sure we are real.’
I dropped of my bag on the table nearby, stood in the middle of all them for a pic and I died even more. TAKA HAD HIS HAND ON MY SHOULDER!!! AHFUIERHGAHVLISHB WWOWWW
The person taking the pic for me was having a hard time, based on his face and bunched up eyebrows, and I didn’t care. I thought, ‘yesssss have more trouble so I can stay here with ONE OK ROCK and Taka touching my shoulder!!!’
But the moment I thought it, it was over :[

I thanked them for coming and for the opportunity and went off back in line, after getting two shirts.

Once everyone was done with pictures, the staff put up the barricade near the stage and I got lucky and got a spot RIGHT IN FRONT!!! It was in a corner, but I didn’t care. I was closest to the stage and could see everything. The cool thing is that all band members that started the concert pass by that spot, so I was able to get some high fives and all.

I chatted with some other VIP people while I waited for the show to start. AJ was able to find me and squeeze his way through the crowd to get to my spot.

The show started off with Palisades.

Here is one of the songs they sang Let Down:

Not the best pics of them, since I didn’t change my phone cam settings to the right ones, but still got something:

 

After Set It Off performed.
I am a new fan for this band. The lead singer is hilarious.
And the bassist played a trumpet during one of their songs!
Here is one of the songs they sang Hypnotized:

So there was a sign near the exit nearest me that said:

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And then in the following pics, you can see the lead singer (sorry I haven’t learned names yet) decided to go into the crowd lol.

On a side note, Set it Off will be performing again soon, in Sac at Ace of Spades, with Simple Plan.

Then on with the show! ONE OK ROCK came out to perform and I LOVEEEE it!
Here are some pics:

Overall, it was a great experience.
It was my first ever mosh pit rock concert.
It was my first time seeing and hearing ONE OK ROCK in person. And I don’t regret it! The only down side is that I’ve been ruined with hearing them live that the recorded songs just don’t sound the same.
It was great making new friends with similar interests and all spazzing about the same thing.
It was great experiencing this with already made friends and boyfriend.
Everything was great and I am very happy that I decided to go to the concert.

I am still questioning myself whether this all really happened or not, despite the pictures and CD and VIP badge.
It is very similar to my first time at Disneyland when I questioned if I really went.
I guess this this an excuse to go to another one of their concerts to experience it again and validate that I was there for their 8/14/17 Sacramento performance!

If you guys get a chance, definitely check out all 3 bands!

Until next time which would be DISNEYLAND!!!

Linda

Artist Spotlight: Laovaan on YouTube

Shalom, Internet:

It’s time for another Artist Spotlight! Meet Laovaan, a YouTube user who speed paints watercolor portraits, manga drawings, and digital art. His work’s pretty awesome.

3 weeks ago, he released the embedded video below discussing his struggles about learning art in the classroom.

I’d like to encourage you guys to listen to this former art student’s experience. Did any of you come across the same level of criticism as him? What are your opinions on “studying” art in school? What does the word “art” mean to you?

Support his work on his Patreon, his Etsy, and his DeviantArt!

Have a great week!

Clara

 

A fun and busy 3 day weekend WITH LINDAAAAHHH

So this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and that means a 3 DAY WEEKENDD!!!!

Original, the Schmucks and I were going to go to Monterey Bay to visit a friend down there, but things came up here and there, so we postponed it.

But that leaves me with plenty of time to do other things, and that I did.
It was a super fun and super busy weekend. I think I am done driving for a bit though.

 

Saturday

I woke up early to go to Mahoroba because I was going to visit my boyfriend’s family for the 2nd time, and needed something to persuade them to like me.
Since I know they love food, I thought Japanese pastries/bread would be a good bet since I had a feeling they haven’t had something like that before.
I got a lot of bread guys….my car smelled so nice within the 1 hour I drove to their house.

I got my usuals – Kobe cream, curry, yakisoba, croquette, the whipped cream with a strawberry and red bean paste.
But before my eyes…..WAS THE CREAM PUFFS!!!
I am never up early enough to get these and mannnnnn I made sure I got some.
You can only get cream puffs early in the morning and you are limited only 5 in your purchase.

I MADE SURE I GOT 5 AND SAVED MYSELF ONE!
Behold the puffs:

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Anyway, I got my breads and head out to Hercules.
I got there fine, and the moment I dropped off the bread to his family, half of it was disappeared that instant haha!

So my boyfriend and I went to Berkeley and it was a very nice change in weather.
Sacramento, at the time, was super hot and to step foot into Berkeley with cooler temps and a breeze. It was amazing.

Our first stop was Artichoke Basille. It is a pizza joint that smells amazing!
They have some unique flavors of pizza. I don’t like artichoke in anyway, but it was recommended to me and it is one of their specialties, I ended up getting the artichoke cream sauce pizza and my boyfriend got the lasagna (a newer addition) pizza.
I liked it. The artichoke wasn’t overpowering, probably because of the cream sauce.
I tried the lasagna one, as well and it was good, but then again I also love lasagna haha.

The price per slice is a little over $4, so it does seem expensive, but these slices are HUGE!
It was bigger than my face, and I was full for most of the day. So it is a good price, in my opinion.

We finished lunch and was going to head to Daiso, but we got sidetracked with Games of Berkeley. This place is FULL of board games. There are more well known ones and some indie ones. It was a very cute store and they had some games out on display for you to try out.
We browsed, played, and explored and headed out to Daiso before the car meter runs out.

Daiso was a pretty cramped, but because it was full of people, but full of stuff.
We just went up and down the aisles looking at what was there. I was tempted to get a gel pad and cooling towel to prepare myself for Sac summer, but decided against it. But I did purchase extra long chopsticks for cooking.

We headed back to the car and headed to Uji Time.
So this was the one place that I really wanted to try out when I first heard about it, and I finally got to!
They share a store with Vampire Penguin, a shaved ice joint.

Uji Time only has 4 flavors – tofu, matcha, lavendar, and black sesame.
I told the cashier it was my first time there, and he let us try the different flavors.
I was very surprised that the tofu flavor actually tasted really good!

So this place has a small menu. You can get a regular cone with two flavors (or one if you want), a taiyaki cone with up to two flavor ice cream, a parfait with lots of toppings included, or mini taiyaki bites.

I made up my mind before trying the flavors, that I wanted matcha and black sesame taiyaki cone.
I said that it would be great if they had red bean paste at the bottom of the bottom, and oh man did it!! It was a great surprise and would explain why the taiyaki cone was a bit heavy.
They put the red bean paste on the bottom of the cone, then put black sesame in the middle, and matcha on top.
My boyfriend got a lavender parfait and that was delicious as well.
I am definitely going back to try the tofu flavor fully.

For my cone and the parfait, it was about $11. Pricey, but I wanted to try it.
(There is also an Uji Time in Japantown in SF, just a heads up.)

Here is a pic of my taiyaki cone:

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We had some time left over in the car meter, so we just briefly explored downtown Berkeley and grabbed some coffee before heading back to the car and back to Hercules.

We ended up watching Kubo and the Two Strings, since my boyfriend hasn’t seen it and is really into animation.
After the movie, we walked his dog Snow along the trail behind his house.
The trail curves around a bit, but has plenty of sunny spots and shady spots. It is pretty ideal for a jog or even a dog walk.

My impression of Hercules is that it is a small quiet town, similar to Davis, but even quieter because it isn’t a college town.
You do have the ocean view and the breeze. Temperature is cooler than Sac, but not by too much.
But honestly, a very relaxing town to be in and seems safe enough.

After heading back to his house and chilling a bit, I went home.

Sunday

This day was a very tiring day, but totally worth it.
Originally, my sister and I planned to visit my brother in SF, to give him some homecooked meals and to bring back whatever he didn’t need home.
But since he works from 9am to 5pm, we had to kill some time.
My mom took that day off to join us, while my dad took care of the shop.

The itinerary was Sutro BathsLittle Henry’s, and Serramonte Galleria.

So we left Sacramento at about 10am, to head to SF.
We took a detour through San Rafael because traffic on the main road was crazy bad.
The scenery was nice, but man did the lanes get so narrow the closer we got to SF, once over the bridge.

But we got the Sutro Baths fine and got really lucky with parking!

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We did get to go down to Sutro Baths because my mom said she would not be able to get back up, so we just walked along the beach on the sidewalk and enjoyed the cooler temps!

(On a side note, when I told my dad we were going here, he said that I should never take my mom too close to beaches here since they are haunted and may people were dragged into the sea by these spirits. He wasn’t sure what Sutro Baths was, but he mentioned that once he and his friends were are a cape or something near the Cliff House, and a spirit grabbed his friend’s leg to trip him. He always banged his head really hard on the concrete but luckily, my dad and friends caught him in time. When I told my mom, she said it was total bs and my dad was making up stories haha.)

We got hungry, so we decided to visit a restaurant my dad’s side of the family frequented a lot when they use to live in the area, called Little Henry’s – or how my mom calls it ‘Little Hangry.’

My mom was escorted up and down hills by my sister:
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At this point, I don’t mind driving to and around SF.
But I absolutely abhor the pushy and no signalling and rude drivers and THE TIME IT TAKES TO FIND PARKING OMGGGGG!!!

Anywho, we got our food and some food to go for my dad. The place is pricey, but my mom really wanted to go there and they did have Vietnamese waitresses and had an option for no meat, since my mom is vegetarian.
We tried to get boba at Purple Cow…but what kind of boba place doesn’t have taro… so we decided against it.

So because I parked on a hill, my mom decided she was done walking for the day, and had me, and only me, go up the hill to fetch the car and pick her up haha. Leave it to my mom to be done with exercising.

We drove to Stonestown Mall to pick up my aunt before heading to Serramonte Galleria.
It’s been forever since we’ve been to this mall, that my family use to go to allllll the time when we were little.

Parking wasn’t hard to find, but I was super happy to find an 85C Bakery.
We got some pastries for my dad, because we promised to bring something back. LOTS OF TARO THINGS! And a guava smoothie for my aunt, and mixed berry green tea for me.

My sister, aunt, mom, and me:

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We walked around the mall and got things for my mom for a couple hours. Just killing time before going to my brother’s place.

We took my aunt home and chilled a bit with my 3 youngest cousins for half hour.

The road to my brother’s place is SUPER HILLY! I was surprised Suzie (my car) could handle it, but then was scared she might roll down the hill…

So I finally picked up my big baby of a TV (YAY FOR GAMING ON A BIGGER SCREEN AND GREAT FOR MOVIES!). We rested at my brother’s a bit before headed out and home.

Here we are in all our glory (wished my dad would’ve just closed shop and joined, but oh well:
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The drive home wasn’t so bad. My sister sleeps the WHOLE way to and from SF….note to self, never have her help you navigate or anything…

We got home and I’ve never been so tired in such a long time, but it was totally worth it and I would’ve mind doing it again…just gotta rest for a bit and not drive for a while.

Monday

This is my relaxing, make me sister do everything because I am tired, day.
I just drove my mom to Michaels and Target to get the things she needed and wanted and just chilled at home.
We had seafood hotpot with my family and some of my uncles and that’s about it.

All-in-all, it was a really fun weekend despite all the busy and driving.
It is always nice to spend time with family. Though I did learn that I have a new pet peeve, which is when I am driving and people talking at the same time to me…It confuses and annoys me.. so I apologize beforehand if I am snappy.

I hope you all had a great and relaxing 3 day weekend!

I do have another blog entry in the making, but will not post or start it until I completely finish what I am making.

Until next time!

LINDAAAHHH

Ghosts on the Waterfront: Suisun City

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To me, Suisun City was just a small town you stopped by to get gas in before continuing to head to San Francisco. It was a small road map sign, nothing more. I really didn’t think I’d actually stop by for a purpose unique to its history.

During our weekend in Sonoma County, Zhi arranged for us to attend a “ghost walk” after dinner at Two Birds, One Stone in Napa. As we all piled into the car savoring the afterglow of the meal, we fell into conversation about the next destination.

“So, are you guys going to be okay?” Zhi asked.

“Of course we are, we’re meeting with a group, right? Like, they sent an announcement and everything?” Garrick responds inquisitively.

“It’s kind of shady, we’re expected to meet at an address and they’ll cancel if there’s not enough people.” I confirm.

Zhi follows up with a nod and something along the lines of “So, if there’s no one there, we’ll have driven there for nothing!”

We arrived safely at the Lawler House; it looks like all sorts of wrong.

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Something doesn’t quite feel right about this place. It’s the wrong architecture for this city.

There, we met our four tour “ghost-hunter tour guides” as well as the other tourists and we went off, EMF detectors in hand.

As we traversed all over the downtown area of Suisun City and heard about its numerous fires and alleged ghostly residents, the EMF detectors remained neutral. They only ever went off if we were nearby a cluster of lights. Despite the apparent lack of teenagers hopping about trying to scare us, I was still feeling pretty happy about getting a nice walk after dinner.

Then, they brought us to the second floor of the Lawler House. The night was warm, and the 12-14 of us huddles around with the EMF detectors in the center. Our tour guides then decided to attempt to contact the supposed 13 ghostly entities that haunted the Lawler House. After a long trail of questions, the EMF detectors read no activity.

Then suddenly,

“Did you work on the ranch?”

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What. The. F*ck.

We were all pretty shocked and focused on the EMF detectors, but then…no more.

After the initial recording, we listened to the playback and surely enough, during the same set of questions, the EMF blipped again. Truly chilling.

I saw something flicker over by the door after that. At the moment, I’m hoping that it was just my imagination.

Then the tour guides said a bunch of things including something about a time bubble, dead loved ones, and then we headed out to the hotel. (On a normal day, my bedtime is 10:45 PM, so I was getting a little bit tired at this point.)

The empiricist in me gets very skeptical about these sorts of things, but sometimes, you just have to hand it to them — if they’re staging something, they got it down pat just enough to question. If they’re not, then we’ll just have to accept that there are some things that just linger here in this world for one reason or another. Everyone asks “Just what is waiting on the other side?”

I don’t know; frankly, I’m not worried. We all get there eventually. Me? I’d like to think that my loved ones are on the other side with open arms and a full plate of ghostly morsels.

If you guys want to hang with the ghost hunters in Suisun City, please go ahead and follow this link — it’s $20 buckaroos to be incredibly confused or utterly convinced.

Suisun Waterfront’s Ghost Walk

Keep it Schmucky,

Clara

Weekend in Sonoma County, CA

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Truer words have never been spoken.

Once again, this is Clara coming off the heels of a weekend in Sonoma County where Zhi and his friend Garrick planned a trip as a treat for Madison and me, their girlfriends! The ladies were almost completely in the dark for what was planned ahead, so almost everything came off as a surprise to us. So, on behalf of Madison and myself, thank you both so much!

Feel free to check out under the cut for an outline of our trip as well as some photos.

I’m absolutely awful at giving descriptions about what we did and how we felt during it. All I know is that I was relieved to find out that I actually did not gain any weight during this weekend even though my face felt super puffy from the wine tastings.

The photos Madison and Garrick took were proof of the puffiness, haha.

I own a bullet journal and that’s pretty much the extent of my consistency in chronicling any adventures nowadays. So, this will be done in bullet formatting.

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SchmuckReads: Minimalism, an open conversation

Shalom, Internet!

Today, I wanted to try something a little different and open up a conversation about something that has been very much on my mind: minimalism in the home. I just finished reading 100 Essentials: Simple Kitchen + Capsule Wardrobe + Minimalist Home and while I agree with the notion that one shouldn’t be too materialistic (for practical reasons), I couldn’t help but feel a little bit annoyed at something. I also managed to see a documentary on minimalism on Netflix appropriately titled Minimalism: A Documentary about Important Things and I have a few points to discuss on the matter.

These past few weekends, Zhi and I went through our closets and our kitchen and managed to clear out all of the duplicate, outdated, and broken pieces that we’ve accumulated over the years. Naturally, when two independent people move in together, there are going to be duplicates of things and of course, with busy lives, it’s difficult to find time to just sit down and clear things out.

I hate clutter with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, so I was ready to clear things out pronto. But of course, there are many instances when something cheap will break and you will need to replace it. So then, at what point would the “just in case” mentality end and the “I need to get rid of this shit now” motivation begin?

Luckily, one of our friends moved down to our area and was in need of kitchen supplies, so clearing out the kitchen was an easy fix. Zhi and I are avid cooks on our own and had many duplicates that we were more than happy to hand over to another home.

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As for our clothes, it was natural that we wanted to donate them to the needy, so that was a no-brainer.

Our plans for the future include cleaning out our books and our old school papers in favor of getting organized, as well as a number of knick-knacks in storage that we may or may not use in the future. I’m bracing myself because I know I’m going to feel absolutely awful getting rid of the books. (They’re really the one thing I collect. But time makes it so that they are collecting dust. It’s time to face the fact that I may never read or re-read some of them.)

Our thoughts behind this de-cluttering are that the more organized and clean our home is, the more efficiently we will go about our day. We will cut down on wasted space and wasted items that never get touched. For us, it’s not about just the items, but the way we carry out our household routine is also leaned out so that all of our free time is at the end of our weekdays. Then, with a leaned-out household routine, it will give us more flexibility to focus on the things that matter or accommodate for life’s unexpected events.  Essential items we need won’t get lost because we’ll be able to see them. Our cats won’t get into anything that may potentially harm them because everything that can will be safely tucked away where it should be.

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So, then if I’m practicing this sort of minimalism …what’s my problem with it?

I have two reasons:

  1. I’m not big on labeling myself as anything but me.
  2. Things that get over-branded as a type of “holier than thou” philosophy really really really piss me off.

I don’t follow any minimalist blogs. I don’t pay attention to anything image-wise concerning it. I just try my best to recycle and re-purpose my belongings as best as I can so that neither Zhi nor I will trip over any clutter in our home.

A person should really have a healthy relationship with their possessions. If certain things make you happy, then I say go buy them! I have nothing against that. In fact, it makes me smile from ear-to-ear when I walk into a friend’s room and see so much of their interests, hobbies, and personality consume the room. It’s comforting to see so much of them in it. 

However, minimalism has become somewhat of a marketing ploy for a lot of people. It’s become the new “in” thing. It has become a way of saying “Look at me, I don’t have extra things because I want the simplest way to be chic and classy while brandishing my wealth because I can afford these sparse yet expensive items!”

It’s been corrupted by a veil of consumerism. Please, don’t get me wrong — I strongly believe that a person should be able to enjoy nice things in their home. However, the meaning of minimalism becomes lost when you begin to obsess about what kind of/how many objects you have. The idea of it is that it’s suppose to free up time and make the more important things stand out. “More important” shouldn’t mean “more expensive.” It shouldn’t be a competition to keep up with “who has less.”

It appears that the people who can afford to project that sort of aesthetic are the ones who don’t have to worry about their financial situation — if something breaks, they throw away the first $4000 floor lamp and replace it with another one.

For a photographer, the $4000 lamp could have been —

  • a $20-30 floor lamp(s)
  • a new camera lens (on its own)
  • a few reflectors
  • a tripod
  • a new chair
  • a new TV stand

The point is,  that money could be many other things other than a $4000 lamp in a sparsely-furnished room.

An example from our household: we have two trash bins in our kitchen: a small one-gallon wastebasket and a 13-gallon trash bin. The smaller, one-gallon wastebasket sits on our counter and the 13-gallon trash bin sits on the floor in the corner of our kitchen.  Why do we have two trash bins? One interpretation of minimalism says we should have only one trash bin.

  1. We live on the third floor of our apartment complex in a one-room unit.
  2. I am not the most graceful of cooks.

Many of our dishes are saucy or involve raw fish or chicken in their creation. To prevent the trash from smelling like hot, dead roadkill at the end of every week and from weighing more than we can comfortably carry, we use the smaller trash bin on the counter as we prep our raw animal product in our meals and take the smaller trash out more frequently. The larger, 13-gallon garbage bin will always weigh more once it’s full, so reducing the weight each time we take out the garbage helps us prevent potential spillage and other messes.

In short, the smaller bin is for smellier raw material waste while the larger one is for everything else.

This works for us, so it’s necessary for us to have two trash bins. We would not pass the so-called “100 Things” challenge, but it makes us more efficient.

I’m not trying to bash anyone on following minimalism — in fact, the basic concept of it has really helped me keep my life clean and healthy.

However, just to keep things open-ended, I’ll recommend another book:

The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement

It’s about applying the concept of Lean in your everyday life including the principles of  現場 (the place of value),  無駄 (waste), 改善 (betterment),  and 看板方式 (inventory management). It’s truly a fascinating read.

What do you folks think of minimalism? If you are a practicing minimalist, what has this methodology done for you? Has it helped? Has it harmed?

I’m all open-ears,

Clara