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Christina Kwan / tide & bloom

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summer playlist

Here’s a list of the music I am currently listening to (on repeat). It’s a mix of indie inspiration, classic throwbacks, and top 40 fun. Pharrell is rockin’ my world, as per usual. Here’s to a great summer filled with long beautiful days and sweet sticky nights.

[spotify  http://open.spotify.com/user/1265780517/playlist/5KAo6syM2k2cGxt6WK0P78]

Daft Punk ft/ Pharrell – Get Lucky

[youtube=http://youtu.be/5NV6Rdv1a3I]

Rilo Kiley – Let Me Back In

Justin Timberlake – That Girl

The Staves – In The Morning

[youtube=http://youtu.be/epo0y6UuHDY]

Mariah Carey – Always Be My Baby

instamadness

Yes, I finally joined Instagram @tideandbloom #latebloomer. Guess I just can’t resist yet another way to share my experiences! Here’s a little sample of where I’m beginning:

[instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZN6dNkn_yW/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdtKEpn_9f/ width=325][instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdspvhH_8o/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/ZdvJN3H_xG/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/Zd05G_H_6M/ width=325] [instagram url=http://instagram.com/p/Zdfk_mn_1f/ width=325]

Are you addicted to Instagram? Are there any particularly interesting Instaphotographers I need to follow?

 

this post features kittens

I’m not quite sure what’s happening with the amount of adorableness in my blog posts. I just can’t help it, I guess! This last road trip I went solo which sucked but was awesome at the same time. I very much enjoyed being able to sing as loud as I can and stop wherever I wanted. The most surprising stop for me was the Plantation House gas station in Tifton, Georgia.

Georgia roadtrip

(an abandoned building beside the gas station)

Stray kitten

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The pumps were old and I felt like an alien in the whole scene. But there were two amazing things at Plantation House. First one being, feral KITTENS.

moments in gatorville: part 2

My recent trip to the ‘Ville was bursting at the seams with things to do. One of the most important was a bridal shower for my amazing best friend who is getting married in June! The combination bridal shower and graduation party was a joyous gathering of friends, family, laughter, and love. Prepare yourself for lovable moments ahead…

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a sweet medium

I’ve seen quite a lot of cakes in my day (I used to work at a custom cake bakery), so it’s pretty rare when I see a sweet tiered treat that makes me take a second look. And then I saw M Robin Cake Design. Her stunning creations just about knocked my socks off and they made me re-think what cake decoration could be. The best part is that the concept is actually rather simple and it begins from the inside out.

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Marcella Robin makes entremet wedding cakes with jaconde designs. Say whaaa? Entremet = a European torte made with sponge cake, mousse, and other delectable creamy goodness. Jaconde = a decorative exterior sponge in which the design itself is baked INTO the cake. Ummm… just watch this video.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/62210449]

moments in gatorville: part 1

Visiting places from your past can be weird. Some things will be the same, but the one thing that is guaranteed to have changed is you. This is how I feel every time I visit Gainesville, Florida – better known as home of the Florida Gators. I spent four years there (2006-2010) and in that time span I built the foundation for the courage and ambition that I have now. It’s rare that I have a chance to go back but since one of my very best friends was graduating and being showered with bride-to-be love, I found myself in the Swamp yet again.

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// A gorgeous graduate and her charming fiancé

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// Our celebratory brunch at Blue Gill

ode to roasters

Alright, alright. I don’t want you thinking I go to places like Sotto Sotto on the regular, so let me tell you about one of the ordinaries. Every now and then, you need something simple, uncomplicated, and satisfying. For Ben and me, one of these places is Roasters.

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Besides being close-by,

cute & adorable

Sometimes gift-giving is hard. We all experience that frustrating gifter’s block where you can’t find anything that’s just right for your friend, mother, or the bride-to-be. Fortunately I have the perfect solution for you. Begin with vintage history, add some sweat equity, mix in a dash of love, and you’ll find the wonderful offerings by Block & Hammer (obviously I like their name)!

Hand-stamped antique forks by Block & Hammer

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I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to share their beautiful work

the end of the war

This post is part of the Love Yourself Linkup, an ongoing series focusing on self-image to foster an engaged community of writers and readers to connect, share, and love. Anne The Adventurer bravely revealed her struggle to recovery and began this linkup to encourage other writers to share their unique experiences and journeys. You’ve read a little bit about it already, but here is the longer version of how I became who I am today.

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For the greater part of my life, success for me was determined by the grades I received. The number one goal was to be at the top of the class in all subjects and to use any energy I had to get there. Yes, I was the Asian cliché: a timid and quiet overachiever raised in a strict environment who just wanted to make her parents proud. This deep sense of obligation was engrained in me early on and the only way I knew how to exist was to strive for perfection and do what was asked of me. Straight A’s were a standard of normalcy and the only acceptable report to bring home. Anything less resulted in a loss of privileges and along with it, strong words of disappointment, grief, and anger.

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It was tough adolescence, but please don’t get me wrong. I was given as much love as I was given discipline, but my parents just had a different way of showing it. They were wonderfully generous to me, just not in an emotionally expressive way. You could say my mom was a little bit of a Tiger, but this was her own flavor of motherly love. If she didn’t push me to be better, who would? I’m sure this was the thinking behind it, but unfortunately it took me a lot of time to accept it as a positive force in the grand scheme of things.

calming storms: paintings by samantha keely smith

There’s just too much stuff out there. It can be overwhelming, right? With the pervasiveness of social media in our everyday hand-held lives, almost every corner of the world is now open and available. Media is constantly zooming towards us and the response options are as follows: like, share, or keep scrolling. Then we just keep going because don’t want to miss anything, but as a result we devour without thought or emotion.

It’s rare that I come across a visual that truly draws something from within me. When I say rare, I mean social-media-rare like probably once every few weeks. This is even truer for the ever elusive “art world”. Luckily, there are people churning beauty every single day… like Samantha Keely Smith.

Gorgeous painting by Samantha Keely Smith

"Enfold" Gorgeous painting by Samantha Keely Smith

Her oil-painted universe is a turbulent crash of land, sky, sea, and self. Samantha writes:

In order to truly appreciate beauty and light, one must allow for the necessity of the dark.