This Day in 1968


It’s my birthday and I am feeling incredibly….
Warm and Fuzzy
Loved and Spoiled
Energized and, at the same time, Calm


Giddy over Doodling (Thank you, Sunni Brown!)

Aimless bookstore browsing, came upon this book.

Sending the author, Sunni Brown, a big fat virtual Thank-You Hug!


I am a visual person who cannot produce visual materials. For a long while, the boxes and lines of PowerPoint and Visio served my purpose. But as my work and thinking got increasingly complex, a insatiable itch started to brew.

I did not have the words for what I wanted to achieve, but they should resemble something commonly known as “visual thinking”.

2 pioneering companies came to mind (ok, younger folks, please remember these companies started in the last century hence they were pioneers and should always be respected as such).




Here’s the official description

We have been helping large organizations clarify, communicate, and achieve their goals since 1993. XPLANE leverages visual thinking, human-centered design, co-creation, and multi-disciplinary teams to help clients solve complex problems and accelerate immediate and lasting results.

As someone with a Master’s degree in human-centered design, > 20 years of experience in multi-disciplinary team and co-creation,  it is no wonder I feel lacking without the ability to construct the 4th element, visual thinking.

Visual communication is used throughout all parts of businesses, from strategy planning to communication. The difference between XPlane experts and I are the tools we use. Mine – basic flowcharts, boxes, circles and lines, occassional fancy shapes – are frustratingly rudimentary and limited.


#2 – Common Craft

Common Craft’s visual language of choice is Video. As a company, they have come a looong way from showing the world a new form of communication to providing online membership-based services.



But…here’s the problem….

Both XPlane and Common Craft require expert or near-expert skills in creating those content.


Hence my INSTANT LOVE for Brown’s The Doodle Revolution.

The Doodle Revolution is a global campaign for visual literacy.

To many of us, it gives us the reassurance and guidance that we too can doodle in order to

  1. Clarify our thinking
  2. Solve problems
  3. Communicate
  4. (and much more but you have to read the book yourself)


I have even joined the revolution and am now a “soldier” waiting for further instructions!

Watch out for this space…you may see my showcase piece sometime in the near future.


I am exceptionally excited about Brown’s work because it focuses on applying infodoodling in the business context. While there are other books that talk about sketching ideas, I am impressed that Doodle Revolution is generic enough for all purposes yet specific enough to be used right away for my brainstorming and client communication.

Verdict? I don’t have the final one yet as I briefly lifted my head from the book to share my giddiness with the world 🙂 So far, 5 out of 5 for

  • Book content structure
  • Writing
  • Clarify (but of course)
  • Ease of reading (very much so, light yet substantial)
  • Actual learning – Brown promised and she has delivered; the learning curve has been sharp and enjoyable.


Also, it is one of those physical books that is actually worth investing. You won’t be able to find ad hoc free info for the same learning, nor will a digital version deliver the same experience.

It’s late and I must hit the sack. Meanwhile, you may want to hear all about Doodling from Sunni Brown herself, on the TED stage.



Getting out of a Bulimic cycle

Breaking free from Bulimia or any Eating Disorder is a very, very long journey. Meanwhile, one needs some good tools to get quickly out of a bad cycle i.e. a series of binge or binge-and-purge episodes over a few days.

I have consistent success in employing 3 tricks. If you are on your Eating Disorder discovery/recovering journey, please try them out!



#1 – Tricking your own mind
Denial and Ignorance are 2 traits I cannot stand. HOWEVER, they can be usefully employed when it comes to binge management.

After a binge episode, you feel bloated, “fat”, tired, and guilty.  Slipping into a vicious cycle, you eat more to stub out those unpleasant feelings, to temporarily disengage from whatever has been bothering you.  And there breeds a new cycle.

Your body is not lying to you though – you ARE indeed bloated from too much salt/sugar, you ARE lethargic because you have been eating without moving.

But you have a choice regarding how to feel about the situation.

  • Choice A: Regrets, frustration and guilty feeling -> Vicious cycle
  • Choice B: Ignore or even deny how bloated you feel -> Back to Normal state of mind (and eating)

In other words, RESETTING your mind will RESET your behaviours.

Instead of reminding yourself of the binge episodes, you pretend nothing has happened. You go on with your programme – mindful and intuitive eating, enjoyable workouts – as if nothing bad has happened. 

You just killed the vicious cycle before it had a chance to grow!


#2 – Move, move, move!
Workout is a miracle cure, it really is. And remember: I am speaking as someone who only discovered this in her 40s…so it is never ever too late.

Here’s what will happen to you and your body when you just move your body for a bit

  1. You begin to feel alive; you get your head out of the post-binge zone where you focus so much on being “fat”, tired and guilty.
  2. You sweat, you get rid of water retention.
  3. You produce endorphins that make you feel better overall.
  4. You feel stronger and you are more flexible, all positive feelings to drown out the negative chatters in your head.

If you were like the old-me, the last thing you wanted to do is to move. I was there only 2 days ago…I binged then I slept A LOT. Today I eased back into a couple of workouts and am afreshed and ready for better days.


#3 – Self Awareness and External Support
Last but not least, the ultimate tool ….
The more you develop self-awareness, the more you solicit support from close ones, the quicker you will learn to recognize the signs and spring into positive actions.


Try these 3 methods and let me know how they work out for you!


Pretty dinner table EVERYDAY – is it doable?

I have been meaning to improve our home meal presentation.

Maybe exploring new, colourful ingredients, or bringing out some table clothes and napkins (without waiting for formal occasions). Ideally, it would be nice to get to a point where this becomes a second nature, with meals to feast the eyes and satiate the stomachs.

Source: Jamie Oliver

Yet, easier said than done.

Near 6 pm, dinner planning/thinking often escalates into some kind of urgency where practicality trumps all. 3 criteria = Nutritionally-balanced, fast, crowd-pleasing. Food presentation does not really make it to the list. We do try, we really do, to at least have some sort of “order” as a civilized family around the table.

I am quite inspired by images like the ones below (from #MyOpenKitchen):



It may seem like an opportunity for major tableware shopping. The irony is, we have TOO MUCH in our kitchen AND miscellaneous “to be sorted” boxes from my previous homes on the west coast and England. If memory serves me correctly, we have 4 full sets of formal china, one set of casual dinnerware, on top of the 2 sets we use daily. Some include platters, tea sets, etc as well.

Now that we are talking about formal china, I have completely forgotten about the name of the one we received for our wedding. Imagine, that was once a major decision!  I believe the pattern is now discontinued but still available should we need additional items/replacements.

Royal Doulton: Challinor

So back to better food presentation….here’s what I have learned today:

  • Pinterest is the best source for inspirations. Much focus is required, it’s like an ocean of ideas out there.
  • “Food plating”. No, I did not know it is a term/art/skill set. This is a great 101 how-to for people like me.
  • My husband is right….better clear out those miscellaneous boxes ASAP.  Once we’ve done an inventory check, we can get organized and be creative, for real!

If you have tips on presenting family meals (easy, daily), I would love to hear all about it. 

Clouded Clarity

You know that light-bulb moment when you achieve clarity? 

I had that moment about a month into intuitive eating. Deprivation-driven eating (too few calories, too many food/workout rules) was fading, while emotional triggers became more detectable.

Work in full swing, food to follow. Cause and Effect.  Clarity was a sweet, sweet thing.

Yet, as expected, the path is never linear.  It’s now foggy; causes for recent binge episodes unidentified.

I miss my logical inner world of peace.

Artist: Loui Jover


Here’s what I have done to prevent slipping back
Ignore what I did and how I feel (bloated! guilty! confused!) and keep to my work out plan. Again, endorphins prove to be the best remedy *PROUD*


Here’s what I will do to regain clarity

  • Consolidate AND clear my to-do list in earnest. I am pretty sure that the pile of procrastinated “stuff” is building up stress deep, deep inside my core.
  • Keep up with my workout plan.
  • Practise breathing. While I’ve back into HIIT quite well, my Pilates has slipped….my mind just isn’t quite there to handle the movements. Oh so cliche, but the mind-body connection does need mending.



Challenges? Bring them on.




I binged, now what?

My Eating Disorder (Bulimia/Binge-eating) has resurfaced after 20-odd years, right when I was at my “fittest”, physique-wise.


I am documenting my thoughts, actions, and discoveries for 2 reasons:

  • To flesh out my thinking during both low and high points
  • To record the journey that I know will have twists and turns, all pointing towards recovery
  • To share insights that may help others in a similar boat




What Happened Today
I’ve been extremely bloated the past day or so, likely due to the aftermath of Gastroenteritis, leaving my digestive system in an extremely sluggish state. Who knew a “clogged” system could leave me so self-conscious? I feel 2 sizes larger, though my logical mind told me this is a temporary (medical) condition.

The anxiety must have been brewing at the back of my mind….till I was alone with the opportunity to binge hence silence the unease.

While the actual amount consumed was not astronomical (compared to more serious episodes), it was psychologically trying. I escaped by taking a long Sunday afternoon nap, full stomach and all.



What I will do
What’s done is done. I feel extremely down but my fighting spirit and logical mind are doing their best.

I have 2 choices: (A) to give in to the slippery slope, or (B) to use this setback as another chance to prove my strategy WILL work.

I am going with (B).

My strategy is two-fold:

  • Continue with my “re-kick-start” workout programme. Endorphins, circulation, lymphatic drainage….not to mention delicious abs and strong legs. It is the best Rx.
  • Continue to write and share (and hope to attract a few comments?)


Today’s Discovery


If you know of similar sites, please let me know.




Summer Patio + Date Night + Good Eat

For our July date night, we tried Lil Baci Taverna, discovered via OpenTable.

Do you know It’s made for us – parents-foodies-wanna-be who don’t have the bandwidth or time to really plan for a good date night, thereby relying on last-minute reservations that hopefully still guarantee a decent experience.


Big warm smiles greeted us. Always a good sign. And just the right table-for-two out on the patio on the side street.

Here’s a neat little writeup of the owner and this gem.

I checked the menu before booking and was impressed with (1) a small but solid dinner menu, with “buildable” small plates and full-sized entrees (2) a wine list that is categorized by Cheap/Good/Very Good in addition to the usual White, Red, etc. You got to love honesty, no?


On our table…

Pomodoro. Basil. Parmigiano. Meatballs.
(no pictures….husband confirmed it was very well made…fresh pasta and veal meatballs).

Pan Roasted Sardines.
Lemon. Capers. EVOO. Arugula.



Creamy Polenta. Parmigiano.
(no pictures…in belly)


With garlic. Chili. Vinegar.
To go with the sardines and polenta, the waiter served this ON THE HOUSE. The combo was heavenly.




Was this the best find ever? Of course not. Was it a perfect evening? Yes!  It’s chemistry really, that perfect balance of food, service, conversations, weather, $$ bill….and oh, a parking spot right in front of the restaurant 🙂

Any parents out there? Tell me about your date night  – where you went, what you had, and what you plan to do next time!