farmer’s market

This morning I went to “hang out” with my mom at the local farmer’s market. On the way over there, I got the genius idea to take notes on how to pick and choose the BEST fruit. My mom is a super foodie, so I always ask her if a fruit is okay to buy or whatever. But it’s a bit inconvenient to bust out my phone and describe different fruit to her while I’m at Ralph’s, so I’m getting special advice and archiving it here so I can be awesome at picking the sweetest fruit like her, too :)

Plums! Notice the ripeness at the stem end, if it’s too light, then it won’t be sweet enough. The natural white powdery stuff on the fruit means that not a lot of people have been touching them :) Slightly less ripe plums can sit at home for 2-3 days and ripen themselves.

Cauliflower! Less smudgy brown spots is better. Like broccoli, it’ll be less bitter if the buds are tighter and not yet bloomed.

Peaches & Nectarines! White peaches/nectarines tend to be sweeter than yellow ones. The all-around redder color tends to be better. It should be less green by the stem, maybe white/pinkish.

Mushrooms! These are button mushrooms. They should be firm, and not opened at all. You shouldn’t see any black from the inside of the mushroom. If they’re fresh, just cut off a bit of the stem (the brown part) before cooking.

Zucchini & Squash! Soft and squishy is bad. Too white is bad, because it means it’s overgrown and old. They’re a bit naturally shiny.

We also bought strawberries (Fresher, green leaves/stems, smell) and mangoes (kidney shaped ones, wrinkly means they’re ready to eat/ripe, sometimes sugar comes out at the stem). I wonder if I should find a Chinese supermarket for Asian vegetables, or if I’ll just rely on salads for my greens…

I’ve been taking a million pictures a day of the stuff in my room while I’ve been unpacking and packing. I’m cleaning up my room so I can take (almost) all my furniture down to Los Angeles. I’m really excited to be moving into my own place!

PS. I decided that taking pictures of stuff against a granite countertop is NOT aesthetically pleasing.

from this day forward

Last weekend, I headed down to San Diego with my family to attend my cousin Gina’s (very) small wedding ceremony/reception. There were only 24 attendees, the majority of whom were my own family members. As the youngest in my generation on my mom’s side of the family, I’m used to being babied, but this time might have been the first time I really felt as if I was taken seriously by my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was good seeing everyone together again, as the last time we were all in the same place was probably the summer before I started college (almost two years ago), when my other cousin Sara got married.

Even though I don’t have any experience with event photography, I was enlisted (rather than hired, haha) as a photographer for my cousin’s wedding. It was good practice, and a good excuse to bust out the ol’ D40, but seeing how the majority of my photos turned out was a bit disappointing. I’m proud of only a few of them, so I figured I might as well share. The wedding took place at Trattoria Acqua in San Diego. It was set to begin at 5 o’clock, but was delayed due to a few important family members being stuck in traffic. While we waited for them to arrive, my dad (as wine connoisseur) perused the restaurant’s wine collection to choose which white and red wines would be served during the reception.

I wandered around shooting portraits and candids. Here’s my uncle (the father-in-law) and my dad. Both of them legitimately tied their own bowties. :) Note: I hate the internet for tinting my photos cold.

Of glass-clinking there was a-plenty, and hence so too were photo opportunities. This was my favorite shot of the many. Congratulations, G&G!

And onto other things in my life… I was looking at my WordPress dashboard today, and realized that a third of the blogs that I post on Thyme are private. I blog much more rarely now than I used to, but whether that’s because of how busy I am or lack of things to say, I’m not sure. I guess things have fallen to such a pattern that don’t feel the dire need to share my experiences, or maybe, I just don’t deem them important enough to be archived. But there are a few thoughts I’d like to write down and save for a less rainy day.

I’m not one to really think about my future, when it comes to career, education, or family. The only permanent goal that has stuck with me throughout the years has been to find happiness, and of course, I’m constantly taking steps towards it, or towards finding out how to reach such a dreamy goal. At each moment in my life, what I’m doing is who I am, and the future? Well, it’ll get here inevitably and eventually, so I don’t trip.

School and academics are, of course, at the front of my mind day-in and day-out. Classes at UCLA have consistently kicked my butt, and I often end up questioning my major. Today, I talked to my friend Anna, a third year Electrical Engineer major. Curious, I asked her why she chose to study EE. She answered exactly how I’ve heard myself respond to others, with a “Why not?” We talked about it for a few minutes, and well, I realized that even if it’s difficult, and even if the best I can do is a C in each of my classes, it’s worth it because I’m doing it. Anticlimactic reason, maybe, but well, it’s true. I’m getting through it, barely, but I am. The Mechanical Engineering department hasn’t scared me off yet with failure, just a handful of “average” grades. And in all honesty, I should try to do better to keep in mind how well “average” is, when one is studying a really, really difficult subject at a really, really good university.

The second major thing that comes to mind when I look at my life right now is what I do for BruinLife yearbook. Because of the Pledge Referendum that recently passed, a helpful sum of money is going to be added to our (ASUCLA Student Media‘s) monies. I’ve been meeting with the Communications Board alongside the Editor-in-Chiefs of the Daily Bruin, other newsmags and General Manager of UCLA Radio to discuss our strategies to most effectively utilize this new income, and well, I’m surprised to learn about how the other publications run. The few meetings we’ve had so far have taught me to really appreciate the organization and structure that BruinLife retains as a serious publication of UCLA. I’m proud to be the head honcho of BruinLife again for next year, and I’m excited for the challenges I know I’ll get through. No doubt I’m afraid of how much it’ll hurt me, but by now, it’s become so big a part of me that my responsibility to see things through is nothing short of the moral thing to do. But I think this is a topic for another blog, for some other time.

For now, it’s time for a nap. After that, EE100 homework and my last Physics4AL lab. Rejuvenation, here I come!

bmw art cars

I meant to blog about this ages ago, but by the time I remembered the half-finished post in my blog drafts, the exhibition was already over. Even so, I guess I’ll finish it up, because this is a pretty cool concept.

From February 12-24 this year, there was an exhibition of four BMW Art Cars at the LACMA. My boyfriend Stanley likes cars (that’s an understatement) so he sent me a few pictures from the exhibit he found on the Internet to test my contemporary art recognition, haha. I researched a bit more online and discovered that there’s a reputable collective of BMW Art Cars; a panel of judges chooses an artist to whom they bestow the honor of designing/creating one of the BMWs. Since 1975, 16 BMWs have been utilized as canvases for various famous artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. I looked up the most recent one, and it’s so intense. Olafur Eliasson created his car by creating a metal frame and slowly layering water to freeze over it. It’s exhibited in a giant freezer.

His concept embodies a pro-alternative energy type of mobility, as the BMW he chose for his piece was the BMW H2R oxygen-powered prototype race car. He decorated it with an ice and metal chassis, representing the relationship between the production of automobiles and their effect on the environment. It’s a really specific concept, totally extreme and different than most approaches. Which makes me really like this BMW art car collection – such a broad field with specific approaches.

obey hope & change

When I was at RISD this summer for my industrial design classes, I came across Shepard Fairey’s OBEY campaign a few times both in the dining commons and at the RISD:works store (where they sell things created/designed by RISD students/alumni). I remember the OBEY poster being popular when I was in school in Beijing, but didn’t really know what it was about until more recently, when I saw it displayed/advertised at a few skate stores.

Shepard Fairey was born in 1970, which makes him nearly 40 now. I don’t know when he started his Andre-the-Giant-has-a-Posse thing, which led to the OBEY stuff, but seeing how universally renowned it is now, I can’t help but be amazed. Its a simple enough concept, yeah, which caught fire to the masses quickly and easily. Social strata (I’m using the word stratum way wrong but I can’t think of the word I’m looking for) is complex enough that most artists can’t avoid it. It’s the way we think and feel that affects, well, everything in life, which in turn leads to the creation of artwork.

But I’m getting off topic. I was surfing NOTCOT archives and came across Colbert’s interview with Fairey. (Source.) I had no idea that the guy behind the OBEY campaign also designed President Obama’s HOPE poster! I wish Colbert asked him more about the HOPE campaign, and how he did it, where the idea developed from, but I guess Colbert’s interviews are always just specks of hilarity and bits of information. I like they way Fairey described OBEY in a few sentences though, I wish I could boil my concepts down like that. Here’s the interview:

Welcome, President Barack Obama.

I haven’t watched the inauguration yet, but I did read the text of Obama’s speech. I never put in effort to foster any particular interest in American politics, but now that we have an amazing speaker as President, I’m sure I’ll be following the US government’s actions more closely. Plus, this is our generation. I’m ready for it, and so excited, too.

typographic growth

One of the websites that I check daily on my Google reader is (iLT). Although I never studied typography or fonts formally, I developed in interest with them alongside webdesign, as they often go hand in hand (especially in this digital day and age). Today’s blog about vertical heights is definitely a good starting point for anybody who wants to foster an interest in typography. I’ve read a few snippets about type terms/usage before, but nothing too serious, so as a reference, I definitely found iLT’s “Inconspicuous Vertical Metrics” blog to be informative and interesting. Blogger Alec Julien put together lots of comparisons to exemplify the different terms, too, so everything’s super applicable.

As for other type-blogs, I’ve found Death by Kerning to be an often-updated one worthy of RSS. If anybody knows any other quick online references/tutorials for other typographic elements or font blogs, please share!


Yesterday, I went to the LACMA with my boyfriend, Stanley. We got there pretty late, a little after 3pm, so we didn’t have that much time to cover much of the museum (which is actually pretty huge, split up into a few separate buildings) but the first building we stepped into was the one I was probably the most interested in – the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA. In the last few years, I’ve met people who misunderstand, abhor and even despise the concept of modern art, but I am definitely not one of them. For me, the intensity of representation is one of the most defining things about art, and whether abstract, direct, simple or complex (often a mixture of all), I feel as if it’s often all about the ideas formed as well as the expressions evoked and expressed, no matter the form. Long story short, I noticed a few artists at the BCAM at LACMA: Inaugural Installations exhibition (and the rest of the museum) that I decided to do more research on.

John Baldessari
The piece that caught my attention was the wall mural, Buildings = Guns = People: Desire, Knowledge, and Hope (with Smog). I noticed that the word “Hope” in the title corresponded to a giant print of a blue rose. After checking out the mural for awhile, I moved on to the other sections of the exhibit which included other paintings of Baldessari. He had a handful of really conceptual paintings, as well as some that were purely text against blank canvas. I found humor in his cynicism and view on modern art, and as an influential contemporary artist, I think he’d be good a good choice to look up.

Helen Frankenthaler
Frankenthaler’s work reminded me vaguely of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s, so of course I had to do more research after seeing her work at the LACMA. Her abstract works had a certain graffiti style to them (akin to Twombly’s and Basquiat’s, in some ways), and it’s interesting to see how that they compare to her earlier more color-field style. I feel as if her style is easier to read and understand than Baldessari’s work, maybe because of the easy juxtaposition of the elements in her paintings. Either way, I definitely found her work to be interesting to observe.

Overall, I definitely found the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the LACMA to be worth going to. It’s not overwhelmingly large, nor is it too extensive (it mostly focuses on a few influential artists) but still, it’s been awhile since I’ve museum hopped, so it was nicely portioned cut of my day.