A year ago, I started asking myself this question. Every day.

This particular question held a large significance in my day to day life this past year. It's what got me to India;  it's what drove me to become a certified yoga teacher; it's what allowed me to open up to my friends and deepen my relationships; it's what pushed me to go from an insanely stressful advertising career to a freelance one where I make time to work on the projects I've always wanted to work on. 

1) It reminded me that "hey, I have a heart." And that no matter what my brain had been conditioned to think, my heart really is what drives my actions. 

2) It made me question, "If my heart isn't in what I'm doing, what can I do to change the situation?" I realized that although external factors do have an impact on your heart, love, happiness and trust have the most solid foundation (and aren't fickle) if they do come from within. 

3) It allowed me to focus. Cut the fat, the excess, the B.S. And really find what I truly love to do, not just what I'm good at, and go for it w/o hesitation.

4) Heart begets heart. You put your heart in your conversations, your gestures both big and small, your prayers and your goals - and your heart will only get bigger and stronger. And the people, projects, answers that are filled with love will come to you.

Life is short, folks. Act, speak, give from your heart. 


Roadtripping Alone. Lonely? I think not!

Things you can do to keep you entertained (and awake) for long road trips when driving alone:

1) Listen. The most obvious thing you can do - listen to podcasts and audio books. Some recommended podcasts are This American Life, Radiolab and NPR's Intelligence Squared.

2) Sing. The more ridiculous the song, the better. And the louder the better. I brushed up on my singing skills with the Pocahontas soundtrack as well as some old school Kpop/Jpop.

3) Pray. Meditate. Or if you're not into praying or meditating, spend time thinking about your purpose. Your passions. Your goals. Turn off the radio, sit in silence, let your mind wander and observe where it goes. Be an alert witness to your thoughts. You have the time to do so without any distractions. Maximize this opportunity!

4) Call. Make a phone call to that someone you've been meaning to call.

5) Beatbox. Similar to singing, turn on the radio, listen to the beat, and try to follow along. You will be a beatbox master in no time. ;)


Personally, I spend most of my driving time on #3, though I want to do more of #4 and #5. Can't expect to become a beatbox master without practice. ;)


Some Like it Hot

I like it even hotter.
Plump and ready for some chopping

I have to say, it took a trip to Seattle for me to try pepper jelly for the first time. It's a big ass question mark why I never tried it before. Sweet and spicy. Togeza??? Match made in heaven, my friend. And by heaven, I mean my mouth. It was like the first time I tried bacon candy. My taste buds and mind grapes exploded like Cai Guo Qiang's fireworks - chaotic and wild but full of beauty and intent.

This lady was awesome - she let me try 7 different kinds!

I left Seattle without a jar of enchanted pepper jelly though because I was inspired to make my own (one of the many reasons why I love traveling - food inspo overload!). It's been almost two weeks since I've been back on Angeleno soil, and today, I finally dedicated some time to make my own batch. As my dear friend Goethe likes to say, "Willing is not enough; we must do."

Yulree 1 : Jalapenos 0

So I did do. I did it spicy. Extra extra spicy. So spicy, DJ Bedhead and I were coughing up a storm as the apartment filled up with spice molecules while I sauteed the jalapenos. So spicy, you could eat a piece of plain tuna roll and the smell of the peppers will trick you into thinking you were eating spicy tuna roll. BAM.

Here's my end product:

Orange, Lemon Jalapeno Jelly a la YFT
Not pretty but oh so yummy - I am no food photographer.

Think of all the yummy things you can do with this! Slap it on some fresh-baked cornbread. Or drizzle over some soft cheeses like brie or camembert for a cheese party (in my mouth). Or even just have it with some crackers. Drool. I'm gonna go eat some now.


Chocolate & Travel...

...Go hand-in-hand. At least for me! I went on a food tour while I was in Seattle last week and acquired 3 amazing (believe me) organic chocolate bars fresh from a chocolate factory. If you ever find yourself in Seattle, go to the Theo Chocolate Factory b/c: 1) it's chocolate, 2) it's the first organic chocolate factory in the U.S., 3) quality is superb, 4) they have unique flavors and 5) you can sample like mad. They have open trays of chocolate pieces that you can just keep eating from -- for as long as you need to make a decision on if you'd like to purchase some or not (no glaring eyes or bad attitudes from their staff).

So, with that intro, I wanted to let you guys know that I'll be giving away three organic chocolate bars (s+h included to U.S. residents) to one lucky reader.

Ta da! Here are the three unique flavors:

Coffee - I HAD to get the coffee flavor from the coffee capitol of North America! The coffee they used is from Caffe Vita.

Bread & Chocolate - this is the only one I didn't get to sample but the factory guy told me that it features buttered and toasted artisan bread plus a little hint of salt.

Coconut Curry - I've never had chocolate that tasted like this one before. It's so savory that you can eat it with crackers. It was definitely my favorite.

To enter, all you have to do is follow me on HERE and twitter HERE! Will announce the winner on Tuesday May 15! 

Note: the chocolates were not donated or sponsored, but purchased by me! 


Hampi, India

I've been slow in posting my photos and thoughts (< click to see) about my trip to India. And I think, somewhere deep in my subconscious, I love having to revisit my photo album, notebook and memories whenever I write a new post. Okay, maybe it's not so deep in my subconscious. I'm fully aware of it. I relish thinking about India and my time there.

During my trip, one of the places that took my breath away was Hampi. If you ever find yourself in South India, I highly recommend you visit. The pictures speak for themselves.


At the Hampi Market

Had to cross the river to get to our lodging

India has the coolest kids. For reals.

Mixing it up
Surya Belly