A Whirlwind 72 Hours in Finland

Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were all incredible countries with a lot to offer.  We decided to add one more country to top our Scandinavia trip off, and we were glad we did.  Finland was pretty amazing, and as draining as our whirlwind trip was, we felt we topped it all of on a high note.  With a limited amount of time there; we tried to cram as much as we could in a short time, but ended it on an amazing experience at one of the greatest Finnish traditions, the sauna. We were lucky enough to find a night cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki through Viking Line Cruises.  We set sail on the Gabriella Cruise ship, and got a private room (with private bathroom) for $104 total!  Our private room had 4 beds, so if you travel there with multiple people it is a steal.  Even with the 3 of […]

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Stunning Stations and Efficient Train Systems in Stockholm

Taking public transportation in foreign cities can be a little scary.  Trying to find your way around in another language, a little directionless in underground tunnels, or unfamiliar with different turns the roads may take, may make this seem difficult for sure.  I was happy that basically all the public transportation we found in Scandinavia was hassle-free.  One thing that really made the whole experience even more pleasant was constantly finding really cool stations once you get to your next stop. Art can definitely lighten a mood or brighten a day, but I think I enjoyed the constant surprise of finding something new and beautiful at the end of the ride.  It was like an egg hunt in the spring, and I just wanted to find more brightly colored eggs. The stations ranged in size of the work, some were rotating and had various artists, while others were done to […]

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The #ChicagoPeacePin Project

Together with my husband (Bryan “Peabe” Odiamar) and our friend (Jon Stuyvesant), we had shared some anger recently when we read an article in the Tribune about how 25 people were shot in a 14 hour period in Chicago.  We were all born and raised there, in Chicago, and still violent even many years back.  We were outraged.  As the number kept growing this year, we considered the social climate of the city as we continued in our own daily lives outside the city.  We wanted to do something, be active somehow, but also felt so removed from the issues being out of state.   Jon Stuyvesant currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.  He has worked in television for a variety of major networks including: NBC, ABC, OWN, TLC, A&E & MTV.   As a documentary filmmaker Jon has worked on many award winning films and most recently completed Raising Bertie, a […]

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The Deeper Meanings Behind My Batek Tattoo (Part 3)

Featured image: finding symbols similar to my batek hand-tapped tattoo in some woven Ilocano fabric that I brought home with me from my last trip to the Philippines in December 2015.  Some of the tattoo images have been lost through colonization but are survived because they were found in weavings and pottery. As more and more time goes on, the old ways of Filipino tribal cultures are lost.  Having the markings of my batek tattoo are not only helping me to reconnect with my own ancestry but also bring some light to an ancient culture.  The colonization of the Philippines has affected the country and it’s generations of people in so many ways, and I’m just scratching the surface of it’s effects on me. The experience and the markings were powerful and affirming, I wish I could repeat all the knowledge that my mambabatok Lane Wilcken shared with me.  I just […]

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Unveiling My Personal and Ancient Story Through My Batek Tattoo (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, Part 1 of my Batek Tattoo, I split this portion of the experience up to talk about the process, the rituals, and the ceremony.  By the end, I felt extremely thankful to have the support of my family, and these amazing cultural practitioners around me to help me understand so many things about my own history.  I don’t know exactly what I had in mind, but the whole thing went totally beyond my expectations. Woke up around 2am that day after falling asleep putting my daughter, Evie to bed around 9pm. Unsurprising for myself as I suffer from regular bouts of insomnia and has a little one to tend to during the day.  Maybe it was nerves, but I sat in the living room on my laptop that morning scouring for any more information that I could find on my family.  I had done […]

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When Traveling and Fashion Collide: An Interview With Zane of Bay Area Headwraps

The stars were rightly aligned when I was lucky enough to meet the local artisan Zane from Bay Area Headwraps.  I was on a walk with my daughter in our Oakland neighborhood and on the way to the post office across from the local Saturday Farmer’s Market.  I constantly saw her table set up but had never ventured to that side of the street.  I had admired the bright colors and fun fabrics from afar and was so excited that the person behind the brand was the sweet and personable, Zane.  I absolutely love supporting artists and artisans that I know and love, so when Evie and I were lucky to attend one of her private events I got to dive into more details about her background and her work.  She had some interesting travel and culture experiences, and you can see her passions of fashion and life permeating in […]

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Inspired by Lanna Culture and Design in Thailand

In the my last post of Chiang Mai, I briefly mentioned how I was loving the style of our hotel, the Shewe Wana.  I started noticing more examples of this colonial Chinese design all over the city and was completely captured by the details and history of it all.  To understand it, I needed to understand the history and the location. Chiang Mai is one of the oldest cities of Thailand, and was actually part of the Lanna Kingdom back in the late 1200s.  The Lanna Kingdom had influences from all over because of the historic Silk Road trade route.  A blend of Indian and Chinese cultures really infused the Kingdom that was already rich in its own natural wealth.  Northern Thailand has an abundance of nature to enjoy with a picturesque atmosphere of rivers, forests, mountains, animals, and more. I started noticing all the use of old and reclaimed woods, […]

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Pad Thai For 2 (Part 1) Why Bangkok was an Unexpected Pleasure

Getting onto the flight in San Francisco, my friend Rachelle and I were giddy with excitement.  It was late and we were ready for a much needed 14 hour nap on the way to our transfer in Hong Kong.  We had planned a 2 week adventure all around Thailand for a couple reasons; we wanted to celebrate Rachelle’s birthday in a big way and doing something new, we wanted to experience the Thai celebration of Songkran (which is like a new year’s celebration for the change of seasons), and finally we both in need of a break in our lives to really enjoy some time to ourselves.  Never forget that last part, self care is so important. We had plans to do some things with each other, planned some must-do activities, and decided that we are free to split up at any point to adventure on our own.  Realistically, we […]

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Finding Some Goodies at the Alameda Antique Fair

As I’m mostly packed and ready to embark on my trip to Thailand tomorrow, I wanted to write a post now about things I did today and schedule it for the day that I return.  I may have jet lag and be too tired to write, or I may just be wanting to spend the day hugging and kissing my Evie, but better to be prepared, right? Today was my attempt to have a “lazy Sunday” and relax with the family before the trip.  After a night of working a personal history project, I called it a night and went to bed around 4 am. My daughter was already there with my husband and I got to snuggle with her to fall asleep.  Early in the morning, she woke me up to talk about something, I engaged for a bit, but fell back asleep and woke up a couple hours […]

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Being an Entrepreneurial Designer, Creative Director, and Blogger, While Also Having a Family: Interview of My Husband, Peabe

Until now, I haven’t said too much about my other half.  Instead of writing about him, I thought I would take the opportunity to interview him.  This designer and illustrator has been blogging for years on the side of regular creative positions within companies, as well as his own project enterprises.  On top of all of that, he makes time to be an amazing partner in life and an equally amazing father. 1. Why don’t we start with telling the readers what you are currently doing in the world as a designer and illustrator. That was a nice intro =). On top of my 9-5 as an Associate Art Director at Pandora, I’ve been really enjoying doing a lot of illustration work as of late. I’ve translated a lot of my current work into pins, prints, patches, & stickers.  The illustration has been a nice and fun escape from the […]

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