Book Review: Unshakeable by Tony Robbins

I’ve been a fan of Tony Robbins since being introduced to his work several years ago. And I have had the honor of partaking in his Unleash the Power Within seminar too. I just finished reading his latest book Unshakeable so this is a review based on that experience.

Since I have been working for myself pretty much most of my adult life now, I have never worked at a company where opening a 401k account was offered. It really wasn’t until I got divorced in my late twenties that I actually bothered learning about opening up a retirement account. And even then, I made the very mistake Tony Robbins talks about in entrusting a friend who has the title of a financial advisor whose agenda was to sell me an expensive life insurance policy instead of helping me open a retirement account. Thankfully, I was able to get a second and third opinion and realized my mistake before it became a very expensive one long before I read the book.

However, in reading the book I was able to learn the different types of financial advisors and what to look for. Likewise, I had recently shopped around for a new tax accountant and have come to learn what to look for in that particular situation as well. There are certain things I believe in hiring professionals to get the job done correctly, especially when it comes to legal documents or anything that I am unfamiliar with that could get me in trouble if I do it myself incorrectly. So it’s that much more important to know that I’m hiring the right people in the first place!

It was also when I opened a retirement account that I started to invest in stocks. According to the book, low-cost index funds is the way to go and I was reminded of why I shouldn’t invest in mutual funds. I admittedly wasn’t aware of all the different asset classifications for low-cost index funds until I read the book (and I still need to refer to the post-it notes I stuck on the pages in the book to go over them as I type this).

I do consider myself a creative, artsy type. But I’ve also been running a business for over ten years now and have made a living from doing creative, artsy things. Reading a book on finances many not seem as entertaining as a pre-conceivably creative, artsy novel —- but pretty darn vital for a single, independent, modern vintage woman. And I would argue that it’s even more of a challenge to be creative in presenting information in a book about finances so that people can understand it and hence, enjoy reading it.

More surprisingly, I actually was moved to tears when I was reading one of the chapters in the book on emotional/psychological/spiritual wealth. It was a two-minute gratitude meditation that Tony Robbins takes people through at his seminars. He has an audio version of it available too but I decided to continue reading the words on the pages and went through it as I read along. Somewhere between steps 2 and 4, I lost it. He instructs you to breathe while becoming physically aware of your heart beating, reminding you to be grateful for it doing just that.

Here’s to learning to make better decisions, building & growing wealth, and being grateful for what we have.



Martial Arts Meets Dance: My Shorinji Kempo-Salsa Fusion Performance

I recently paired up with one of the students at the Shorinji Kempo dojo I help teach at for what may be the very first fusion performance of this particular martial art with Salsa dancing. It was purely for entertainment at a Shorinji Kempo event at a party, and we did accomplish just that.

This was also our first time performing the routine in front of an audience. And needless to say, I watched back the video and immediately knew where we made mistakes, even if no one else noticed in the audience (I also kept it a secret that I had a ribcage injury when I did this number).

The sensation is actually similar to that of when I published my book. Even though I was proud of the fact that I published a book I was still nervous and self-conscious knowing that it wasn’t exactly a pulitzer prize-winning piece. I’m also not the best martial artist or dancer in the world either.

BUT both times, I did something unique. My book is not like other books and this performance is not like other performances. When you do something different, you don’t know how it will be received by the rest of the world. But if you don’t ever put it out there, it will never be given the chance to be shared. And it’s alright if you don’t want to share it with the rest of the world, but don’t not do something because of what others may think of it.

So I keep telling myself that it’s alright to feel nervous or insecure sometimes but do it anyways, be bold and brave in spite of the fear. Make this life count – do something.


One Dress Styled for Every Season

I recently gave a tip to fellow fashionista & blogger Muse Meileena about my lack of winter-specific pieces such as bulky sweaters since I make use of a lot of my clothes all-year round utilizing outerwear instead to layer over in colder weather. Here’s an example using a dress I bought during the Cyber Monday sale:



I would most likely wear a coat if I was walking around town in the dress during the winter time. However, if I’m attending a holiday party, I would sport the white furry shrug so that I can still show off the dress. The ear muffs are not usually something I wear in California but I’ve worn them in other places that snow during my travels and it makes all the difference. In this situation it worked out that the white fluffiness of both items matched.


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I could wear cardigans but I opted for the light purple jacket I had bought as part of a set with a formal dress this year since it’s close to that pastel color vibe. It works with the shoes (which also scream spring) that match the jacket. As a general rule of thumb, sinamay fascinators are more appropriate for spring and summer whereas felt and wool head/hair pieces tend to work better for autumn and winter months.


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I wasn’t able to quite decide which summer look to choose for this posting so I decided to post all three! The white cardigan can work for spring as well, but I figured in the summer months hanging it over the shoulder like that would still help prevent shoulder sunburns while staying relatively cool in the hot weather. Hats with longer brims would also help with sun protection along with a cute pair of sunglasses (which I sadly did not photograph myself with even though I purchased a few along with the dress). Summer and spring seasons call for bright colored shoes that pop!


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I couldn’t quite decide between the navy blue blazer (which I’ve been posting photos of me wearing in recent postings) or the black & white one. The black & white one does match the color scheme of the black & white hat (which I thought went well with the Parisian landscape of the print on the dress). But the navy blue does go well with the lighter blue color of the dress too and I did pair both blazers with navy blue pumps. When I wore the black & white blazer, I also wore black gloves. If it was in colder weather, I would probably opt for tights too.

As you can see, it’s really all about the outerwear and accessories. I do think it’s more fun to sport vibrant colors during the colder seasons too. So next time, consider reconsidering before you decide to put away so-called spring/summer clothes during the autumn/winter months.


How to Spice Up an Outfit with Fringe Shorts

I recently bought a few more of the fringe dance shorts I used to own in black. I bought two pairs (red and white) not being able to decide which color to get for an upcoming dance performance I have. I figured I would wear them out for fun too.

While I think certain situations call for more conservative outfits, I think if you’re out trying to have fun then why not put in some fun in the outfits too. Here’s how I accomplished that with two conservative outfits by swapping the bottom half with the fringe shorts:

Outfit Example #1 + White Fringe Shorts

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The top half of the outfit may look familiar if you recall the posting from when I made the ombre bedazzled headband to match the sweater I found.

I think if you’re babysitting for the night or working at a library the first outfit is still appropriate and there’s still some fun in the bling details of the headband and the sweater. But I decided to wear the white fringe shorts to go out for a weekend brunch with friends. The top is still fairly conservative so it balances it out with the party on the bottom half.

Outfit Example #2 + Red Fringe Shorts

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In these looks I also took pieces from a blog posting I did in August with the blazer and the rose adornment. For a day at the office, the first look would probably work. But for afterwork hours, I think swapping the pants for the red fringe shorts would be the perfect transition. It looks like you’re ready to go out for dancing indeed.

Like the first example, I like keeping the top the same and slightly more conservative to balance things out with the bottom. Between the pumps that scream edgy and preppy, keeping the blazer is a perfect compliment.

I used to own a pair of the fringe shorts in black and used it for a photo shoot (below) but have yet to find out where they went. I think the “bottom” line is it’s a great piece to have in any color and it’s so much fun to shake it. As a fun bonus tip, put one on and dance in it to  Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off.”

Modern Love Photography (13 of 49)



Film Review on Wonder, Book Review on The Best Day Ever, and How They Helped Me Get Out of a Funk

This week I went to go watch the film Wonder on release day and completed the book club read of the month The Best Day Ever (by Kaira Rouda).

I personally don’t mind doing a lot of activities solitarily or with other people as it’s apparent from a lot of my blog postings where I read a lot (but do enjoy discussing the books with the book club ladies) or travel by myself (but also enjoy visiting others or traveling with others sometimes). So while I did ask around to see if anyone wanted to go watch Wonder with me, I did end up enjoying the film on my own as well as the book. And I found these two seemingly very different stories therapeutic.

We all strive to be perfect or want to at least look it, even though we know no one can be [perfect].

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 5.43.51 PMWith Wonder, it’s very evident that the story is about a boy who has a facial difference he was born with (Treacher Collins Syndrome) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the film actually does go into the back stories of the other characters in his life. And while it is heartbreaking to see him go through what he goes through because of the obvious, the way the film shows perspective of the other characters’ lives it’s a lesson that it’s beyond life that revolves around you—- even when things are hard for you, it doesn’t mean other people have it any easier because we all have things we have to deal with.

Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 5.46.40 PMIn reading the novel The Best Day Ever it was also surprising to know that it was written by a female author but from the perspective of a psychopathic male character. While some of the things this character thought was repulsing, I couldn’t help but be reminded that there are people out there who think these thoughts. And yet, this person thinks that he is “perfect” because he is in denial of his problems.

So may these pieces be a reminder to not be deceived by the facade of things and being able to accept and acknowledge your imperfections.

I admittedly strive to paint this image of fabulousness of myself in sharing things I do in these blog posts. But like everyone else I am vulnerable and feel pain. Even if I appear strong enough to get back up, the pain is still there. While some may perceive that as a sign of weakness, I believe that there is strength in continuously getting back up in spite of the pain and also being able to be kind to others through empathy of understanding or acknowledging other people’s pain/hardships.

Be kind to others and to yourself,


Book and Film Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

The book club ladies and I read The Zookeeper’s Wife for the month of October. And at the meeting for discussing the book, a lot of the ladies who had seen the film said that the film was better than the book (which doesn’t happen very often). So I decided to put that theory to the test and watched the film myself.

The verdict? Overall, I did like the film better too.

Visually – The book did provide actual photos of the Zabinski Family as well as the zoo animals whereas the film did not have any archived footage or photos even at the end. However, the film did make it easier to follow the different guests that stayed since it does tend to become difficult for me to keep up with too many characters in the written form. I did wish that the book would include a map of where everything was which would have been more helpful.
Historically – Luckily, both the book and the film were done in the style of having things happen in a chronological order. However, the book does have less of a progressing story feel to it in comparison to the film. This is where a lot of the ladies from the book club felt like it was hard to get through the book at times since it had a more history book or documentary feel to it. Though I will say that reading the book did give me a good understanding of what was going on in the film. So I’m still glad I read the book.

With the recent natural disasters that have been happening all over the country lately, it has been a sad reminder that whether it’s a natural disaster or a war innocent lives are taken and endangered, both human and non-human animals. And it is always heartwarming to hear about the selfless kindness and courageous acts to help others that exist amidst such tragedy.


My Everyday Life in Black & White

Many of you have probably seen the posts people have been doing on the 7-day challenge of posting black & white photos from everyday life. The posts usually are something like this:

Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanations. Nominate someone to do the same. Day <enter number> of 7. I nominate <enter name>

My friend Megan nominated me to do the challenge on one of her 7 days, coincidentally on a Sunday after I returned home from an outing with my mother in the city where I came across this humorous book cover that I had just happened to photograph:


Click here to buy the panda book
And then from the first photo I took for this challenge, I realized that the first photo was also an object that was in black & white against a black & white background, coincidentally enough! So then I decided to add a new layer to the challenge by being mindful that whole week of photographing everyday life that is ALREADY black & white, though I did still use a black & white filter to photograph them.

In following the instructions, I will not provide any explanations to leave a sense of mystery (or at least to those who aren’t familiar with what I’ve photographed). However, en lieu of nominating someone for each day, I invite anyone who is feeling inspired to take on this challenge!

From doing this project, I also became more aware of the different colors in my everyday life in general. It made me think about the fact that I could do different colored versions of this photography project (ie. a red things in my everyday life). For me, it was about taking a moment to notice things in my everyday life and being mindful. It’s why people do things like meditation.