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

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


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.


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.


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.

local collections

When I see something engaging, I have to take a photo. The moment of intrigue that compels me may very likely become inspiration for a drawing, be it a week from now or a decade from now.


// random building(?) in Castleberry Hill, Downtown Atlanta

Flowers blooming in Druid Hills, Atlanta GA

// springtime blooms on the way to Festival On Ponce

And sometimes stuff is just adorable and I can’t resist capturing the sweet moments in life.


// spicy fried green beans at The Republic in Grant Park


// this little guy! in his backyard playground

lines to live by

NPR has kicked off their “exploration of the changing lives of women” by asking one of their founding mothers what sort of advice she would give to her younger self. The article has of course ignited a plethora of comments containing valuable advice from the readership. Here are a few lines that I personally need to remember:

Worry more about what you think about yourself than what other people think about you.

Sometimes being honest is more important than being nice.

Speak up, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and own your successes and failures.

Acquire experiences over possessions.

Be who you wish to be in the world and recognize that you are responsible for this choice.

random atlanta delights

Take pleasure in the little delights all around you. The more effort you put into recognizing and appreciating beauty, the more often you’ll realize your life is actually beautiful.


// window display of antiques in Palmetto


// a peach bellini and a lovely friend at Stone Soup Kitchen in Grant Park/Cabbagetown


// the abundant florals outside of the bf’s apartment

this is serious, y’all

So remember that whole “my heart is winning” thing I just posted? Well in less than 12 hours, it went from winning to completely wanting to back out of the fight. That’s right. This post is being written right now in real time and I will be publishing it immediately for the whole internetz to see. Why would I post such a negative attitude, you ask? Why even write this at all? Because “beauty” isn’t one-note and to remain beautiful, I want to present a real version of myself – a version that is truthful and multi-dimensional.

The best and most inspiring days would never happen or feel nearly as exuberant if I didn’t have days where I felt like I wanted to disappear. The mix of creativity and ambition is like a disease, really. Or a psychological disorder. One of my former bosses labeled it as “divine discontent” (not sure if it’s something he read or came up with himself). I believe that I’ve suffered from this my entire life; the condition in which the force that drives you to reach for more is also what holds you back because you believe/know that nothing will actually make you feel satisfied or content. This always comes to me in form of the phrase “I want everything and nothing at the same time”.

While this is one of my downfalls, it’s also the thing that will bring me back up. And I’m sure at some point soon, back down again. But I’m only human and so I want you to know that this is what happens in my life. I’m sure it happens in yours as well, right?

warming up

Every now and then I’m confident enough to call myself an artist (as you saw by my last post). It’s been a lifelong war waged between my head and heart, trying to decide on what type of compromise to make in order to stay grounded and practical while still satisfying the urge to create things. For now, the heart is winning and I really hope it’ll stay that way.


The only thing left to do is begin. 

My name is Christina and I am an artist.

Hello there. My name is Christina Kwan. Nicknames usually refer to my last name like Kwannie, Madame Kwan, Obikwan… you get the gist. I’m a quarter century old (gulp) and trying to find – or more like create – a place for myself in the world.

At the core of my being, I am an artist. I have always had the inexplicable urge to create things and art class was hands-down my favorite part of school at every stage in my life. Now that I’m older and maybe just a tad wiser, I’ve realized that this is never going to go away because I always come back to beauty. It’s what I want more than anything, in everything I do. So instead of trying to fit myself into the professional career box, I’ve decided to accept my fate and pursue it with all the dedication that I would give to any other opportunity.

Beginning this blog went hand in hand with the decision to get back into making artwork. The words “tide” and “bloom” made sense to me as a description for the constant ebb, flow, and growth we all experience in our day-to-day lives. It is this push, this instinctual desire to move forward, that has brought me here.

Tide & bloom is a space to share and inspire creativity, in all forms that reveal themselves to me and you. I’m most inspired by natural wonders, culinary delights, thoughtful films, charming abodes, and of course other creative individuals. It’s my hope that reading this will be like reading letters from a dear friend or colleague and that it might motivate you to seek beauty in your own life and pursue the dreams you didn’t think possible.