An open letter to my old friends

 

An open letter to the close friends with whom I have shared an unspoken goodbye with

This is for the people that at one time or another I considered my “best friend.” To some, I may overuse that title a little too casually. But, over my 20 years I have been fortunate enough to have so many people  completely fill that role for me. Since then, most of those people have moved to other states or have moved to other places in their lives in which there isn’t a place for me (and vice versa).

One letter could never do justice to how much these relationships mean to me, but this is a start.


Dear old friend,

To say it simply, thank you.

Whether you know it or not, you left an imprint on my life. I appreciate the laughs, the tears, the conversation, the hugs, the weird inside jokes, the time spent together, and the fact that we ever crossed paths at all.

You taught me the value of real, raw friendship and gave me memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Though we never speak anymore (but occasionally interact on social media because that’s the way the world works these days) you still have a place in my heart.

The way I see it my close friends have had a deep influence in shaping who I am today and in what I consider to be my most cherished values in relationships (loyalty, honesty, vulnerability). For this reason, our friendship will always be a part of me, always be present in some way.

As I pack up my belongings, I have been getting a kick out of browsing through old photos (that are horrifically over-edited or just plain awkward, s/o to junior high). Nostalgic? Yes. Regretful? No. I’ve found that it is healthy and refreshing to be reminded of where I used to be & who I used to be. Most importantly, reflecting back on the abundance of amazing friendships I have experienced reminds me of how blessed I am.

So, to all of you, thank you. Know that you changed my life for the better. Know that I appreciate you. Know that you have given me something to be thankful for. Know that our unspoken goodbye is okay.

Wishing you all the warmth in the world.

Love always,

K♥

 

How I became a Columnist

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Since April 2016 I have been building my journalism repertoire.

From junior high onward I toyed with the idea of being a journalist, but my schedule was already packed with core classes, orchestra, P.E. (EW), and Spanish. Fast forward to when I started college, and the idea came back up to the surface after I started to read the student-ran newspaper at my university. Actually, my freshman year of college marked the first times that I read any newspaper at all. Shoutout to free newspapers in my dorm every day.

After two quarters of reading The Daily and The Seattle Times I built up the courage to apply for the extracurricular writing and photography courses (which were the first step to being hired for The Daily, my university’s student newspaper) during spring quarter. To be honest, I was pretty surprised that I was accepted into both classes, wasn’t pursuing my dream supposed to be harder?

Well, it did get more challenging. Although the classes themselves were doable, learning how to interview people was downright scary. After my fellow students and I learned that we would have to interview sources for our pieces I noticed that attendance dropped. I don’t blame them for leaving, talking to strangers is an intimidating prospect for me as well.

I am proud to have pushed myself out of my comfort zones by not only applying for those classes but for staying dedicated and performing well-enough to be successfully hired at the end of spring quarter.

During the summer I continued to write and take photos even though school was not in session. Since it was summer, I was not in Seattle on a daily basis. Consequently, I learned how to conduct phone and email interviews. It felt pretty weird, talking to a psychologist on speakerphone while recording the conversation my laptop. But, not as weird and cringe-worthy as listening to my voice on that recording afterwards. It’s so weird to hear myself talk, especially in a formal manner. Anyway, I completed a few pieces during the summer and by the time autumn quarter came around I knew what my writing focus should be: nature.

While I love to write about my life, fashion, travels, thoughts, etc. the one topic that I enjoy writing about the most is hands-down the great outdoors. Maybe it was because of all of the hikes, camping trips, and drives that I went on during the summer, but it was at this point where I knew that I wanted to make it happen. I wanted to write about what I loved, so why shouldn’t I be able to?

So, when I received emails about column applications for the fall I began to brainstorm ideas. Since the bulk of my pieces so far had been from the wellness section of the paper and that was the section that I felt that I belonged to the most, I was determined to link wellness and nature. Luckily, doing so was not too difficult.

For me, when I am spending time in nature it is hard not to think about my well-being. For instance, nature gives me clarity of mind, escape from worries, a great place for physical exercise, and inspiration for my heart.

A Breath of Fresh Air,” the name of my column, has ran every other week during the 2016-17 school year and I am so proud of it!

Certainly, it was rarely easy to brainstorm ideas, travel to parks using public transportation, or do parks justice, but the experience was so valuable to me because it was my first real experience consistently writing and taking photos for a newspaper and I wrote MY VERY OWN COLUMN.

AH, STILL SOUNDS SO COOL!

Essentially, my column is a space in which I connect Seattle parks (a different one every time) to some aspect of our well-being-it could be physical, mental, spiritual, etc.

To date, there has been almost 20 weeks this school year that my column was published.

I am super proud to take on the title of a journalist, and LOVE sharing how spending time outdoors is good for us.

If you’d like to read my column from previous weeks and learn about the connections between nature and our wellness click here .

Thank you for reading about my path to becoming a journalist and I hope to update you on future progress that I make in this field 🙂

Love always,

K♥

Pacific Coast May 2017 / / Photo Diary

A few weeks ago my family and I went to the Washington coast (a.k.a. my second home) to celebrate my 20th birthday.

Luckily enough, the sun was actually out and the temperature was warmer than most days.

I snapped a few photos from this trip and thought I’d share them because I LOVED the trip. Plus, who doesn’t like looking at photos of the beach?

Enjoy! 🙂

Love always,

K♥

Thoughts on Turning Twenty 

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Hola!

I recently celebrated my twentieth birthday..?!

So much is changing in my life right now as I enter my twenties.

It’s unbelievable how fast everything is moving.

Like, literally, I am moving for the first time and it is all happening so fast- packing tons (hundreds?) of boxes, donating bags after bags, unfamiliar people coming over to paint / clean / fix / update, meeting real estate agents- all the while, having a deep sense of dread and heartbreak within my heart.

Leaving my childhood home will / already is heartbreaking.

The only way I can get through this is to know that while this is the end of a book, it is also the start of a new one.

I’ll keep telling myself until I buy it.

Anyway, on a more positive note, I am having more luck in my academic life.

I was accepted into the Political Science Major and declared!

Next up, applying for the Journalism program this fall. (I’m aiming to be a double major)

One issue that I keep running into at university is my interest in subjects that are across the board. I’m curious about Filipino history, ancient architecture, Latin, Spanish, creative writing, literature, classical studies, religion.

So, I find myself wanting to pursue so many different minors that I simply do not have time for 😦

I’ll try my best to immerse myself in as vast amount of knowledge as possible while I’m a student here though *smirk/devious face (who else who make this sort of face in this context?)

As for my hobbies, the past six months I have been increasingly interested in beauty. As a reference, I only wore mascara pretty much through high school. But, I have been loving playing around with eye shadow palettes and lipstick! I’ve always been someone who needs creative outlets, and cosmetics is my latest one!

To share my favorite/ holy grail beauty products & looks I’ve been considering posting YouTube videos? What do you think?

As someone who leans on the shy side talking in front of a camera and putting myself out there is slightly daunting, I’ll admit.

On the other hand, as someone who loves photography, filming and editing videos is something I have just dipped my toes into and would love to explore more.

Plus, I’d take any excuse to play around with beauty products!

As for KB^2, Kyle and I celebrated our TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY in April!!!

It feel in the middle of the week, so we had class to attend, but still found time to visit the tippy top of Columbia Tower and eat dinner at Oliver Garden *insert heart-eyed emojii

Crazy milestones this year.

Saying goodbye to my teen years feels more natural that I expected. At this point, life is moving and in order to keep up with it I have to be okay (as in cringe but close my eyes and get through it anyway) with change.

I hope you all are enjoying spring sunshine & discovering God’s blessings in your life, even through hardships.

Let me know how you’re doing below in the comments!

It’s been almost 2 years since I graduated high school and I’d love to hear updates from old friends from Rogers 🙂

Take kare! (at first that was a typo, but, eh why not)

Love always,

K♥

Spring in Seattle

Good morning lovelies!

With the warmer temps & sunny days (every once in awhile) I thought I’d share my TOP 3 favorite parks to visit in the spring.

In The Daily, the student-ran newspaper at the University of Washington, I have a column called “A Breath of Fresh Air” that runs every other week. In it I discuss our beautiful collection of parks in the area and connect spending time in nature to our well-being. So, in this post I will be highlighting a few parks and linking the articles I have written about them, if you are looking for additional information.

Thank you for reading and I hope you have time to breathe some fresh air this week 🙂

#3 Green Lake

#2 Ballard Locks (Hiram M. Chittenden Locks)

 

(photos from my column linked above)

#1 Washington Park Arboretum 

Love always,

K♥


If you have any questions about these parks or about anything you would like to see be blog about then please fill out the form below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible 🙂

Book Review: Gifts From Heaven

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Happy glorious Easter everyone! Christ has risen!

A few nights ago I felt the weight of the world on my back and reached to this new book by James Stuart Bell that was sitting on my nightstand. Before I knew it I had read 50 pages and my worries had washed away by God’s powerful hand.

A clear overarching theme of this book is prayer and how God listens and responds to us. Readers hear many stories of medical miracles, life and death situations, and hearing God’s voice.  As you will see, gifts from heaven are sent by God when we faithfully pray for them and even when we do not receive what we wanted at the time. Most importantly, God’s gifts have no limits so don’t be afraid to pray for what may seem impossible for us because it isn’t impossible for the one listening.

I don’t have any complaints about this book. The design of the book is flawless. The cover is beautiful and the text layout is pleasing to the eye. Real-life stories are told in such a way that your attention isn’t lost but you don’t lose details either. Bell uses just the right amount of words to tell each story. Each story spans a few pages and there are 40 total that make up the nearly 250 pages.

This is an easy-to-read, relaxing book to carry in your bag to read during breaks throughout the day, to read before falling asleep or while sipping your morning cup of coffee. Personally, I enjoyed reading it slowly to best absorb the stories and afterwards to reflect on the daily miracles that I receive daily just by being alive and by attributing all of the good to God.

I highly recommend this read for anyone looking for inspiration and to be reminded that miracles are still alive.

Overall, this book is affordable, motivational, and a book to be read over and over. I hope that Bell writes a part two!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Love always,

K♥

 

Disclaimer: I received this book courtesy of Bethany House to review.

 

Book review: The Ragamuffin Gospel

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Over the last few weeks I have been squeezing in some time to read this book by Brennan Manning. I really didn’t have any idea of what to expect and I certainly had never heard of the word “ragamuffin.” By the last time I set the book down I truly felt like I left with more awareness of God’s saving grace and of who I am with and without Christ.

Early on Manning states that the book is not intended for a number of types of people, including those who are obsessed with following laws/ rules to try to earn their salvation and those who claim to have perfectly obeyed the commandments (from the section “A Word Before”). After reading the rather lengthy list of those who were not Manning’s intended audience I was unsure whether this book was for me or not. As I read on, however, I had the realization that all humans are ragamuffins. In other words we are not (on our own) pure from sin but rather dirty with it. As much as we try to imitate ourselves into God’s image and to live “godly” we make mistakes. We lie, falter in trusting God, and become consumed with other things (like social media or our careers) that can become idols. So, this book is for everyone who recognizes their humanistic faults and innate imperfection and who yearns for deeper understanding about God’s love for us, reaching heaven, and Jesus as the lamb of God.

Each chapter is perfectly organized and tells a different story. The book is embedded with numerous life lessons that I think could be valuable for both Christians and non-Christians alike. I enjoyed how Manning managed to weave in interesting, real-life stories from his life and from other books.

One idea that I found especially fascinating is about the lack of wonder in today’s society. Manning says “We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. . . There was a tie in the not too distant past when a thunderstorm caused grown men to shudder and to feel small. But God is being edged out of the world by science. . .we become immune to the glory of creation” (76-77). Though this is a serious issue, it does not have to be a permanent one. Restoring wonder involves changing the way we look at things, appreciating them more, and giving credit to God for their existence.

This is one of the most enlightening books I have ever read and Manning offers numerous other bits of wisdom and biblical truths throughout. More than anything this book proves that the bible, especially the New Testament, is a gospel for the hurting, the sinful, the lost, and the weary. It is for people like me and you.

I highly recommend this book to all people, regardless of religious beliefs or knowledge. Read it all the way through, because why not? Give it a chance. You never know what blessings lay right around the next page turn.

Love always,

K♥

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books to review.

Additional info:

Monday Motivation: Romans 8:28 ♥

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Ah, we have a light dusting of snow in Seattle this morning! I love how bright and extra magical the city and the University of Washington campus looks blanketed with snow.

As I have been spending much mental energy on deciding on majors / minors and questioning my future this verse has been on my heart recently.

While I am stressed, it is the purest comfort to know that through believing in God “all things work together for good.” So, even though I cannot foresee how everything works out in the future as long as I trust, seek, and follow God will ensure that my future is positive.

Not every little thing in my life is perfect now, nor will it be in the future, but what this verse emphasizes is that in the grand scheme of things all of the little imperfections will lead to positive things to come.

For instance, I spent my freshman year at university taking an assortment of classes in basically every department on campus (not really but it felt like it). I took classes on architecture, Greek & Roman mythology, volcanoes, space & space travel, accounting, etc. While at the time I often felt annoyed and anxious that it was taking me soo long to figure out which areas of study I liked and disliked I can look back now and say that I am glad that I studied in so many fields. I am, after all, working towards a liberal arts degree. But, more than that, I have a thirst of knowledge and understanding of the world that could not possibly be fulfilled without taking such a variety of courses. So, everything worked good in the end.

Maybe you are stressed about choosing a college, choosing whether or not to go to college, hate your current classes, hate your job, or just can’t see where the path you’re on is leading. Remember that if you love God (through trusting, seeking, and following Him) then everything, the good and the bad, work together for good.

Love always,

K♥

Wake up and smell the roses

 

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Good morning loves!

It’s bright & sunny in Seattle today 🙂

As winter weans away spring (more sunshine & blossoming flowers) is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited to ditch the winter jackets, wool socks, and rain boots (okay, maybe I’m not completely ready to pack away my Hunters just yet) for dresses and sandals (too ambitious?).

For now, though, I thought I’d share my numero uno wellness tip: wake up and smell the roses.

In other words, take the time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you. Slow down & look around. Listen to the birds, watch the clouds pass by, soak up some sunshine, be inspired by nature. Go outside at night to watch the stars. Wake up early enough to catch the sunrise every now and again. Take it all in. 

Nature’s beautiful creatures and plants never cease to thrive around us, regardless of whether we notice or not. They are a sort of constant throughout our lives. No matter where you are you can look up and see the sky or look around and see trees (@PNW).

But as the beasts, and they will teach you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:7-10

Pausing to smell the roses will teach & inspire you.

For me, interacting with nature inspires me to write and to feel God’s presence. Appreciating his works, rather than being consumed by earthly distractions such as social media or even working/studying, helps me to see that God is good. He brings a sense of calmness over me when I spend time in nature. Like I am surrounded by purely his creations rather than in the city where I’m surrounded by man-made buildings.

So, pencil in some time in your schedule this week to slow down and absorb your surroundings and appreciate nature. You might learn a thing or two.


Mini life update:

So far February has been unexpectedly refreshing. Last week in Western Washington we had snow nonstop for a couple of days and accumulated the most snow (1 & 1/2 feet at my house) that we’ve had in years. Consequently, university was cancelled for the first time since I’ve been attending. The snowfall came as a surprise, as I do not often check my weather app on the weekends. Even more of a surprise was how much joy my family had going for a walk at 10 p.m. as the snow fell, playing with my yellow lab in snow up to her belly, and sledding without a care.

Those few days almost felt like winter break, although its been over a month since the holiday season and since winter quarter has been in session.


Love always,

K♥