Category: Life

May 26 2017

Starting a New Company: The Excitement and the Scary Stuff

Sorry about my inconsistency in posting. I’ve been working on this new fashion line I’m going to launch in a few months. Though I’m super excited about it, it’s also giving me a good amount of stress. My dream has always been to be a successful entrepreneur, running a company, inspiring a team. Can I make it happen? Do dreams really come true?

I’ve been reading about companies like S’well, Stella & Dot, and Outdoor Voices who are all created by female entrepreneurs. For some reason, I’m drawn to their stories. These brave women followed their dream, they were relentless, and they pursued their passion.

I look back at the success of the art blog I founded, My Modern Met, and I realize that sometimes you have to look back to feel confident about your future. My Modern Met gets an astounding 37 million visitors a year (or around 3 million a month). We helped launch the careers of countless artists, designers and photographers by making their work go viral. (How cool was that job?) In my seven years of working there, as the editor-in-chief, I wrote over 7,000 blog posts about today’s creative art. (Here’s one of my all time favorite posts. It went super viral.) Though at first, when I started the blog, I was nervous about my writing and my taste (or curation), after a while everything became second nature.

Though I can’t tell you what kind of products I’m going to launch first, under the brand name Skylar Yoo, I can tell you that I’m back working with artists. I have so much respect for creatives, I truly think they’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow.

This blog has changed from being a personal one to a photography based one to a fashion one. Now, I think I’m going to go back to making it personal, sort of like a diary. I hope you don’t mind the change. I’ll post about how Skyklar Yoo is coming along, I’ll tell you about my family and I’ll share with you what’s inspiring me these days. Fun Links of the Week (on Fridays) will no longer exist but I’ll post in real time what I think is really cool.

I’ve been juggling between five books these days. One of them that I’m really enjoying right now is called Making Ideas Happen. It’s by Scott Belsky, founder of the art site Behance. (In 2012, he sold the company to Adobe for an estimated $150 million.) On a side note, when I was back at the Met, we actually emailed back and forth a few times. I felt like I was this teeny bopper fan of this big celebrity.

Belsky spent six years studying the habits of hundreds of successful creative people and he developed some really interesting insights. One of them was that everyone should organize their life as a series of projects and that we should manage those projects with a bias towards action. We have to always be moving forward in order to execute on an idea. Another takeaway from the book is this: Making Ideas Happen = (Ideas) + Organization & Execution + Communal Forces + Leadership Capability. A key to getting sh*t done is being organized! After reading that I got my Excel and Word sheets going. I need to organize my thoughts! Instead of having all of my ideas and goals swirling around in my head, I type them into neat spreadsheets. It has helped tremendously!

On another note, there’s this cool Kickstarter that’s going on now that’s about a desk organizer. You’re like, really Alice, a desk organizer?! Before you click away, watch the frickin’ video! His goal was $18,000 and he’s now almost at $213,000! I supported it on the spot. Christopher Jobson, the head of the art blog Colossal, tipped me off to the creator’s t-shirts and I ended up buying a few. I think I like the men’s t-shirts more than the women’s. The designer’s name is Jeff Sheldon and his company is called Ugmonk. The clothes are suppose to be super soft. (I got this red ampersand sweatshirt. Can’t wait to live in it.)

One last thing. Here are the four things I bought on the Colossal Shop this week. I’d been eyeing them for quite some time. Love my miniature spring forest, galaxy lollipops, color wheel pendant, and Colossal mugs (these are nice and big, perfect for your morning coffee). The mugs are half price right now.

Ok, that’s all for now. Be back again soon! Have a super duper awesome weekend.

Art by Christopher David Ryan.

May 24 2017

It Takes 66 Days to Form a New Habit

Did you know that there was a study done that tells us that it takes 66 days to form a new habit? We have this big family trip coming up where we’re going to Hawaii so I’ve been running every morning to get into “swimsuit” shape. It’s been about 3 weeks or 21 days since I began running and it’s starting to feel easier to wake-up and go. I actually enjoy the alone time where I can play my music. I always start off with Titanium by David Guetta. (Such a good song and video, if you haven’t seen it.)

I feel like having that alone time helps in coming up with creative ideas, too.

As Elite Daily wrote: “In a study released in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Phillippa Lally and her team of researchers surveyed 96 people over a 12-week period to find exactly how long it takes to start a new habit.

Over the 12 weeks, the participants chose a new habit and reported each day how automatic the behavior felt. At the end of the period, Lally analyzed the results and found the average time it took for the participants to pick up a new habit was 66 days.”

Fascinating, huh?

May 19 2017

Happy 10th Anniversary to the Love of My Life

Like lots of couples, Sam and I have gone through our share of ups and downs. We first met at summer camp when we were just 13 years old. The camp lasted for only one week so after that we lost touch. Then, just by chance, we happened to both attend UCLA. On our first day of school, we bumped into each other on Bruin Walk. The rest, you can say, is history.

We officially started dating when we were 18, we broke up a few times, but we’re now the strongest we’ve ever been. Married for 10 years with two sweet, loving sons. What more could a woman ask for?

I count my blessings every day for this life God has given me. One of my mottos is “Family First.” They’re the people that bring you the most joy in this world.

When I was a sad, pimply 13-year-old teenager with only a few friends and no “crush” in sight, I would look up at the stars and wish that, one day, God would bring me someone special to love. That dream came true times infinity. Sam is the sweetest, smartest, most generous, most everything person you will ever meet. If God wanted to create a perfect human being it would be Sam. (I am not kidding.)

They say that you know who your true friends are when the going gets tough. Every six months to a year, I go through a manic episode. Sam drops everything. He is right there by my side, taking me on long drives, hiking with me on dirt trails, calming me in bed. He is unbelievably patient.

I don’t know what I did to deserve such a man but I thank my “lucky stars” that God gave me this angel. I love you, Sammy!

May 8 2017

The Exciting Story Behind S’well Water Bottles

You may have one of these beautiful water bottles sitting on your desk. Is it from S’well? I came across their amazing story just recently. Their meteoric rise to fame is something any business would aspire to. Of course, the name Oprah sprinkled into the story always helps.

Though it’s an older article, published in June 2016, it’s no less remarkable. Just because I love supporting businesses that speak to my heart, I bought my first S’well bottle. Isn’t this one, from their Galaxy collection, just beautiful? I hope to be one of their loyal customers, owning about five of them, soon!

March 29 2017

Must See Movie: A Ghost Story

Right when I saw the ghost costume, they had me hooked. Then, I read about what this movie is about and I almost cried. I’ve often thought about what might happen if Sam suddenly died on me so this movie hits close to home. It looks like it was beautifully done. Here’s the synopsis.

“A dead man (Casey Affleck) returns to haunt his wife (Rooney Mara), manifesting as a ghost wearing a sheet with eyeholes over his head. As he watches her deal with her grief, he also encounters a female ghost who is also haunting the same house. They come to observe the rhythms of human existence while family life in the house unfolds over a century.”

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2017. Currently Rotten Tomatoes has it rated at 92% with 25 reviews.

I liked this review, “It’s just the damnedest thing I’ve seen in some time. Weird, haunting, absurd, devastating and occasionally hilarious.”

It is scheduled to be released on July 7, 2017. Must watch!

via [Uncrate]

March 21 2017

What Makes You Happy?

In the Mindfulness Manual, under the article Find Your Purpose, it describes four simple techniques that we can do to make room for happiness. Under the first technique, which is called Meet Your Actual Needs, it asks you to try this quick exercise. On a blank piece of paper write, “What makes me happy?” This sounds a lot like the gratefulness post I put up awhile back but instead of just people, she adds activities, emotions, and places. Don’t overthink it.

Here are some of mine:
Traveling to new places and breathing in the fresh air
Eating delicious, mouth-watering food
Thinking about my deceased grandma (RIP halmuni)
Taking the top down of my car and driving around with the wind whipping through my hair
Seeing art that takes my breath away
Being completely submerged under water
Sharing a good hearty laugh
Tickling my kids
Kissing my kids on their lips
Sharing a mountain of candy bars with Sam
Noticing a patch of colorful flowers on a hike
Downing a double espresso and feeling the surge of energy right after
Seeing a new artist’s interpretation of The Starry Night
Catching up with my siblings
Having a fun texting conversation with a friend

What makes you happy?

The four simple techniques to make room for happiness are:
1. Meet your actual needs
2. Say no, often
3. Identify whom you take for granted–then stop
4. Soothe your inner jerk

Photo of Parker and Logan.

March 7 2017

Shonda Rhimes’ Awe-Inspiring Speech at TED

Awhile back, I read Shonda Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes. Last year, I knew she gave a speech at TED (it was in February 2016) but I never watched it, until now. Rhimes is eloquent with her words, she’s absolutely captivating. You can’t help but admire her for her hard work ethic and also for her ability to see the value in play.

Here’s an excerpt from the TED blog:

Each show Rhimes works on costs millions of dollars, and creates hundreds of jobs that didn’t exist before. With three shows in production at a time, sometimes four, she’s responsible for 70 hours of TV a season at a price tag of about $350 million. She has to run the business and also carve out time to “gather America around my campfire and tell my stories.”

She isn’t complaining. “I work a lot. Too much — much too much. And I love it,” she says. “When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling.”

She has a name for this: the hum. “The hum sounds like an open road and I could drive it forever,” she says. “The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God’s whisper right in my ear.“

But it’s a trap. The more successful she becomes, she says, “the more balls in the air, the more eyes on me, the more history stares, the more expectations there are … the more I work to be successful, the more I need to work.”

Until Rhimes found herself wondering: “Am I anything besides the hum?” Her hum was broken; all she heard was silence.

Enter one of her daughters, who one day asked Rhimes to play as she was walking out the door. She stopped. And said ‘yes.’ “There was nothing special about it. We play. We are joined by her sisters. There is a lot of laughing, and dancing and singing. I give a dramatic reading from Everybody Poops. Nothing out of the ordinary, and yet it is extraordinary.” She felt focused, still — good. “Something in me loosens and a door in my brain swings open,” she says. “A hum creeps back.”

She realized something: “The work hum,” she says, “is just a replacement.” She had to face the hardest of facts about herself: that she, in some ways, liked being at work more than being at home. That she was more comfortable working than playing. But that only in playing did she find that hum again.

“The real hum is joy,” she says. “The real hum is love.”

Since then, Rhimes has made a steadfast rule of saying ‘yes’ to playing with her kids. “It’s the law, so I don’t have any choice,” she says. “I’m not good at playing. … I itch for my cell phone, always. But it is okay. My tiny humans show me how to live. The hum of the universe fills me up.”

Her point is a simple one, yet one we always need reminding of: “Work doesn’t work without play.” Whether it’s playing with kids, seeing friends, reading books or staring out into space, it is actually important for each of us to take time for the simple joys that make life worthwhile.

If you can make some time for this TED talk, please watch it. (It’s about 18 minutes.) You don’t have to be a parent to understand and appreciate her message.

March 7 2017

Feeling Like You’re Failing

Today, Sam told me something that broke my heart. He said, “Do you think that, sometimes, you can ask me how I’m doing?” Wow, I was taken aback. I have been so consumed by this new career in fashion that I have been completely neglecting the most important person in my life. How could I have let this happen? Tears are, currently, streaming down my face.

It’s so easy to get caught up in what you’re doing, your own life, your career, how you want to make a difference in this world. But when was the last time you asked someone you love or care about how they are doing? I went to my psych appointment today and it dawned on me that Sam has never missed one. He’s always by my side, he makes me a priority in his life. How could I not be doing the same for him?

Sure, I take care of the kids when he has a meeting or I watch the kids in the morning so he can sleep in but I’m failing at taking the time to stop what I’m doing and really focus on him. It’s a wake up call. I feel as though I have been failing as a human being. As a spouse, especially. How could I have let this happen? What will I do about it..now?

(P.S.Though this doesn’t directly relate to this post, the new video from Mercedes-Benz called “Start a Family,” made me think..and cry. This one is good, too.)

March 6 2017

Practicing Gratitude

I thought I would dedicate today’s post to people or things that I’m grateful for. It’s easy to get lost in our thoughts, dwell on things we wish for or dream about places we wish we could be. It takes a little more effort to stop what we’re doing and remember all the great things around us. Here’s my list.

God – God works in mysterious ways. I’m a Christian, and though my faith has sometimes wavered, I know in my heart that he is real. He has blessed me beyond belief and I feel as though he’s constantly guiding me with his gentle hand.
Sam – I’ve known my husband since 14 (and I’m now 40, so that’s 26 years!) and we’ve been together since we were just freshmen in college. Yes, we’ve broken up a few times in between and we’ve had our tough times but we’ve stuck together. He’s my best friend, the greatest father to our children and just an unbelievable human being. Sam has shown me what unconditional love really means. I couldn’t love him more.
My sister, Carol – My other best friend. She’s that person you call when life breaks down. She calms you down, picks you back up and glues your pieces together. She’s also unbelievably hilarious, she tells you like it is.
My sister, Grace – I know she always has my back. I can always feel her love.
My mother and father-law – They are like my own parents, they support my dreams. My father-in-law achieved the American dream, he’s an entrepreneur at heart, and I respect him tremendously.
Parker, my first son – Parker is a gift from heaven. I don’t deserve to have a son like him. When he tells me he loves me, my heart melts. He’s just so pure and sweet, he makes me believe that there is good in this world.
Logan, my second son – Logan has recently warmed up to me, for the first almost three years of his life he was attached to Sam. When he finally came around, and we developed our own bond, I realized how selective he is with his love. When he gives it, he gives it with his whole heart.
Kat – Kat is one my closest friends. She’s unbelievably brave and she emits this positive energy. Whenever we’re both going through a life change, we keep each other motivated. It’s impossible to find such a sweet spirit like hers.

Quick list of the other things I am grateful for:
Starbucks’ drinks
Apple for creating such beautifully designed phones (Steve Jobs, you were brilliant but you were nuts (I read the book))
Nature, in particular Santa Rosa Plateau and rainbows
Gittindown – my close group of friends
My high school friends
Friends who are like my family and family who are like my friends – Burt, Sonny, Kevin, Danny, Arlene
My dogs, Fozzie and Charlie
My new LA friends
Art
Architecture
Design
Photography
(This is an ongoing list)

Art: Julien “Seth” Malland aka Seth Globepainter

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