My #GlowupSessions Challenge Journey

It has been done! I completed the Blogilates two-week #GlowupSessions challenge, and I feel so great! How did I get here? Well, it was no picnic in the park. It was definitely a struggle and I thought about giving up early on, but I pushed myself to get through it. I’m glad I did ‘cause I haven’t felt this great bodily wise, mood wise, and mentally, and the challenge reinforced good habits of perseverance, consistency, determination and endurance.

Day 1 vs. Day 14

Introducing Blogilates’ Cassey Ho
I’ve been doing Cassey’s exercise videos since I was living in LA, back in 2016, and she’s been an integral part of my workout regimen. The goal of her brand is to manifest positivity and finding joy in everything, and she’s truly inspirational, motivational, and consistent with her message and workouts. She’s hosted other challenges in the past, which I’ve completed too, but this one really kicked my booty. So, strap in, friends – here’s the story about my journey! Learn about the food, the workouts and the mental health check!

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Rengoku Glass Painting!

Okay, I’m actually quite surprised how well this painting turned out. Who did I paint this time? None other than the Flame Hashira himself from Demon Slayer — Kyōjurō Rengoku! This one was a bit of a challenge and here’s why…

So, two new things were added to my palette this time around – shadows and warmer colors. But for real, the warmer colors were a given because Rengoku’s hair is literally flames. What I wasn’t prepared for was mixing colors for the shadows on his uniform, skin and hair. It’s not as simple as just using the black, white, flesh tone, red and yellow. That might have still been good enough, but I wanted to challenge myself and capture the lighting he’s in aboard the Mugen Train. What I managed to successfully do is mix one color and then transform it into additional colors, so I’m glad I’m consistent in picking the order of which color combinations to start, using one I already need as the foundation to mix into another one.

I tried to do a better job of painting to all corners so there were no holes, and I think I did a decent job touching up towards the end. However, you can definitely see my brush strokes and see through the paint. I’ve seen so many TikTok videos of folks painting and they have such clean thick paint lines, and I don’t know how to do that! Honestly, it just might be me needing to get even more comfortable using SO MUCH paint with every stroke; I tend to be more economical with how much I put on the brush…

What I’m super happy about is the skin color and skin color shadow blended and fit together so well. It looks way more like a natural shadow. I was really worried about those looking so starkly different like in my Draken and Gojo paintings. Progress!

It’s amazing how I can sit down and start a painting AND finish it. All in one sitting of three to five hours. I can’t emphasize enough how much solace painting brings me because it takes me away from the world and pours my focus and creativity into something artful. Can’t wait to pick my next art subject and create another one! Set your heart ablaze!

Who should I paint next?!


Weekly Meals – Oct. 17 – 22, 2021

It… has been a hella rough week. And one of the things I exercise regularly is indulging in one of the seven sins: gluttony. Namely, I ordered myself a large pizza to eat down my feelings. It’s weird, though, because sometimes when I’m depressed, I either gorge myself with food or I go in the opposite direction and don’t eat at all. Either way, I tried to continue building my healthier eating habit, but it was a challenge.

Here’s what I ate/cooked this week:

  • Yellow rice and chicken
    • This recipe was given to me by one of my buddies via TikTok, so… yeah LOL because I don’t have that big of a stomach, this dish lasted me three meals.
  • Pizza Hut $10 Tastemaker large 3-topping deal (pepperoni, green bell pepper and mushroom)
  • Salmon, avocado, rice
  • Onigiri with salmon filling
    • Yo, I’m so happy I purchased the tool to make onigiri, but holy crap, it’s A LOT of rice. Essentially I ate the entire rice cooker’s worth of rice in one sitting. It feels disgusting, so lesson learned, a person should only eat one onigiri, not three. Although, I did get a smaller onigiri mold size.
  • Spicy shrimp vermicelli
    • This was spur of the moment and a combination of two TikTok recipes I saw, and YIKES, it is super spicy. Eating only half the serving pictured here had me wanting so much water. But what else can you expect when there’s chili powder, sriracha and red pepper flakes…

Not the most exciting of meals this week, but I’m determined to continue the journey of eating much healthier.

What are y’all cooking? Share recipes with me to try!

Draken Glass Painting!

The next glass painting is done! This time around, my subject of inspiration was Draken from Tokyo Revengers, which is an anime that premiered a little bit ago and I kind of fell in love with it…! Draken is my favorite character, so naturally I had to dedicate some art to him.

A glass painting of Draken from "Tokyo Revengers" in a black picture frame.

I painted this on World Mental Health Day (10/10/21), and in honor of Depression Education and Awareness Month, I want to share what painting does for me. As I mentioned in my last painting post, I’m going through a rough time, and that rough time got worse in the last week. The short story is on top of everything else going on, I was enduring physical pain with a concerning health issue all last week, and I went to the ER on Friday afternoon and spent nearly eight hours there. Admittedly, I’m quite distraught with life right now, so painting has allowed me to escape the world for a few hours in creating something from nothing. It tames my intense emotions and lets them rest for a good chunk of time. I don’t claim to be a talented artist, but what I appreciate about art is how much it gets you to focus and pay attention to details. Before you know it, as you put Demon Slayer on in the background to rewatch it before the next season comes out, four hours go by! All of this to say that painting, and art, has helped me find a place of solace amidst life’s turbulence, and I am grateful it’s helped me in my struggles.

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“Saudade” Turns Three

Whoops! My brain goes a million miles an hour that it completely slipped my mind that my first published book, Saudade, turns three years old today.

Edit: It occurred to me I cannot math. I thought it was four years, but it’s been three since the book’s official publish date.

Feb. 11, 2018 | Saudade Launch Party #2

WOW. Three. Years. Old. It’s been that long already.

Saudade holds a special place in my heart. In essence, the book is about mental health – riding the scary and unpredictable rollercoaster of anxiety and depression. The truth behind the words was born from years and years of my experiences navigating through a dark place but eventually finding light in the end.

How did Saudade come to fruition?

Continue reading ““Saudade” Turns Three”