Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas! Maligayang Pasko!

I hope you all have a wonderful season with your family and friends. May your hearts and bellies be full with good memories and good food.

May you delight in both the big things and the small.

May you toast to good things now and throughout the whole year.

May you remember with fondness those who are no longer with you and the Christmases you were able to share with them.

May you eat till your heart is merry, and then eat some more.

May you sing carols by the fireplace and be warm inside and out.

Love and (a twinkly book) light,


Sunday, November 25, 2012


good food.




and miniature displays.









I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, November 12, 2012

on living.

The paragraph below is something I shared along with a photo for extra credit in a class. You've seen the photo on this blog before, so rather than post it again I thought it would be great just to focus on the message. Happy Monday, lovlies.

On most weekends, my husband and I take our two dogs to a regional park in the area. Photography being one of my hobbies, I sometimes lug my bulky camera with us. In addition to handling a 50-pound 8-month-old puppy, carrying the camera seems laborious, awkward, unnecessary.  But when I am struck with inspiration by the images I capture, a few extra pounds around my neck seems a small price to pay for beauty. These images are a comfort not only when I am standing in its midst, eyes lifted with awe and reverence, but also when I am back at home, work, school —places we all find ourselves everyday, where we sometimes get caught up in the complex web that is our own life. When we forget that we are part of a bigger, greater universe, the daily pressures can seem overbearing, as if the world would implode the second we can't manage to keep it all together. It's times like these in which these images have their greatest impact; what a comfort to know that life in its most beautiful and purest form exists independently of all our struggles, that it exists outside and despite of our failures and successes. It is with this knowledge that we can return to our busy, complex lives and not forget to live.

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, October 26, 2012

on politics.

Source: us-flag.net via Shiny on Pinterest

I have a public blog where I like to express myself and share my passions. If you’re friends with me on Facebook, then you know I enjoy sharing various aspects of my life with people whom I choose. Politics, however, is something that I prefer to keep private, but I do have something to say about the way people go about it when they do choose to disclose their opinions.

First of all, let’s get something clear. No one, regardless of whom they’re voting for, wants to see the demise of America. When we can start thinking that way, only then can we have intelligent and respectful discussions regarding these issues without resorting to name-calling and mean-spirited discourse that everyone seems to think is acceptable when it comes to their political stance —more on this later.

Secondly, you are a constellation of your beliefs, opinions, experiences, feelings, and values. Don’t insult your identity as a unique individual by reducing your thoughts to a single word, be it Democrat or Republican. Of course we often identify with one or the other more strongly, but don’t make the mistake of assuming that either party automatically represents everything you believe in as an individual. Do your research. Have an open mind. Be willing to vote for someone who isn’t in your party but who you believe represents your values more closely. Hopefully you have done enough research to realize that you do not necessarily agree with everything your candidate stands for. But you are voting based on the unique beliefs and opinions that I mentioned earlier and your prioritization of those values.

Next, give others the same latitude. See others as individuals who have their own beliefs and opinions which they have prioritized as they see fit. They may be voting for the opposing candidate for reasons that you don’t necessarily oppose. And even if you do, they are still individuals that possess the same rights to opinions you enjoy and who do not want to see the demise of America any more than you do. Of course we know there are always people who blindly vote for a candidate based solely on their political party, gender, race, religion, etc. (and hopefully you’re not one of those people), but giving others the benefit of the doubt will enable us to have truly productive discussions around these topics.

Which brings me to my next point —stop the name-calling. Just stop it. I try to avoid my Facebook feed on the nights of the debates, because I know I’ll see things that I wish I hadn’t. This mean-spirited discourse closes ourselves off to objectivity and honest feedback from other people. This can also leave us in the trap of subscribing to faulty political logic. How do you spot this? If it’s a sentence or two that fits on a less-than-flattering picture of a candidate that has been shared on Facebook, it’s faulty logic. It’s name-calling. It’s mean-spirited. It’s drawing attention away from the real issues that we should be pondering this close to the election.

If you were hoping to see a post in which I endorse the candidate I’m voting for, I’m sorry to disappoint you. For the record, I’m registered as an Independent. But I think that this post needed to be written. After all, regardless of who wins the election, we are all still Americans. Rather than identifying with the donkey or the elephant, remember the bald eagle.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

the woods -fall edition.

Fall has captivated me this year even more than it has in past years. Perhaps it's the new perspective I carry. It's the first fall of the new life I chose recently. But no matter what's going on in life, good or bad, it's reassuring to know that a place like this exists outside and despite of it all. This is what fall looks like in my little corner of the world.

yellow leaves






red and water


pond island








What does fall look like where you live?

Love and (a book) light,


Thursday, October 11, 2012

a fall playlist.

I recently read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I liked it more than I thought I would. I was inspired by Charlie's mixtapes and by Sarah's autumn mix to make my own fall playlist. These are songs that make me want to curl up with a blanket on the couch while sipping a chai latte. Also, if you're pining for summer, maybe this playlist will put you in a fall mood.


1.Blackbird -The Beatles
2. New York State of Mind -Billy Joel
3. Breathless -Corinne Bailey Rae
4. They Can't Take That Away From Me -Frank Sinatra
5. Ashes and Wine -A Fine Frenzy
6. The Boxer -Simon & Garfunkel
7. One Flight Down —Norah Jones
8. A Foggy Day -Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

Love and (a book) light,


Sunday, October 7, 2012


I mentioned in one of my previous posts that I am back in school. I’m taking some prerequisites for the teaching credential program. After a 2-year hiatus since getting my Bachelor’s degree, I am so glad to be back in the classroom. I truly feel like I’m in my element. I wanted to share a bit about the classes I’m taking and my experiences so far.

World Literature –This class covers literature from the beginning of time to 1650. So far, we’ve covered religious texts from Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. This class has lively discussion and the professor is passionate about the subject. Earlier in the semester, there were some religious students that dropped the course because they were offended by the professor and other students who did not share their perspectives. It’s really frustrating to see that kind of close-mindedness, especially in an environment that has so much to offer in the way of learning. I think that if you have strong beliefs, it should take more than a 3-hour class that meets once a week to shake your faith. Anyway, the next unit is on sages, and I have to do a group presentation on Lao Tzu, which I’m very excited about!

Creative Writing –I signed up for this class even before I knew I would be walking away from my corporate job to pursue my teaching credentials. I love learning, and I needed something outside of my routine, unfulfilling job to challenge me. And boy is it challenging. I’ve been a bookworm ever since I could remember, but I have never tried my hand at creative writing. A lot of people have told me I should try writing since I love to read, but I thought the two were completely different —and I was mostly right. While reading has definitely enhanced my writing technique and style, creativity is something else entirely. I need to develop a better sense for what makes a good plot. The first full-length short story is due soon. Depending on the response I get, I may share the story here after a few revisions. I’m really enjoying this class, but it’s probably the most challenging class that I’m taking. I’m learning so much from it, though, and just as reading enhances writing, the reverse is also true. My reading experiences have been enriched by what I’ve learned so far, which is great for the next class I’m telling you about…

The Modern Novel –We have to read 11 books in 16 weeks. I’m keeping up so far; I’m even ahead on the coursework! It’s an online course, so everyone can work at their own pace. So far we’ve read Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Hours, Einstein’s Dreams, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Atonement. I love that on the days when I need a break, I can just curl up on the couch with a novel and I’m still doing coursework.

Introduction to Communications –I don’t know how I managed to get a degree without ever taking a communications class, but I did. This class is a 12-week class that started later in the semester. I didn’t expect to enjoy this class very much since it wasn’t an English class, but surprisingly, I look forward to going to this class most of all. The professor is a sweet lady with a Southern accent. We do a lot of activities in this class, which may be why I enjoy it so much.

Basically, I am a nerd. I love all my classes, and I also love studying for them. And of course, I’m the teacher’s pet. Whether I wanted to be or not, I always have been. I’m so at home in the classroom, and I’ve decided I want to live the rest of my life in one —now as a student and eventually as a teacher.

Even if you’re not in school, I highly recommend taking a class or two once in a while, whether it’s a writing class or a pottery making class. Learning does the soul good. It helps you stay creative and sharp, especially if you do the same tired routine for work everyday.

Here’s a glimpse of the remaining work I still have to do this semester: 3 7-page papers, 2 3-page papers, 2 5-page papers, 2 full-length short stories, 1 piece of flash fiction, 2 speeches, a group presentation, 2 exams, 6 quizzes, and 6 novels (to read), not to mention pop quizzes and reading and critiquing everyone’s stories in the creative writing class. I should probably be getting back to work now.

Love and (a book) light,


Saturday, September 29, 2012

the woods.

Lately, Blair and I have been taking our two dogs, Rocky and Boomer, to a regional park near our house during the weekends. The time spent in nature, among the trees rustling with wind and wildlife, does so much good for the mind and soul. The crisp, fall air is so refreshing. It's exactly what I need to stay motivated and energized throughout the week.

The Green Trail

The Pink Trail

Some Instagram Photos {thekindledscholar}
Where do you go to refresh your mind?

Love and (a book) light,


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

a book signing.

This weekend I ventured into the heart of DC for the first time. Yes, for the first time since I moved here 2 years ago. My husband and I are homebodies, so we never quite make it further than 12 miles from where we live. This was also my first time riding the Metro. Now that I've done it once, I think I'll finally be visiting our nation's capital much more often. 

What coaxed me to venture into the unknown was the National Book Festival and John Green. After getting my friend to read The Fault in Our Stars, which she loved, I dragged her to John Green's presentation and book signing. We waited for 2 hours to get our books signed with a whole bunch of 14-year-old girls, but it was completely worth it. The worst part was when the 14-year-old next to us decided that she and her sister should reread the book —out loud. With all the proper inflections. 

John Green is incredibly nice in person. We were in the middle of the line that I later learned had 1,800 people. Even though I was the 900th fan he had seen that day, he made an effort to acknowledge me, look me in the eye, and thank me for being there. He even posed for this photo that I hurriedly snapped for fear of the nazi line monitors. 

And I went home with this:

Even after reading the book, I didn't bother to see what his Youtube videos were about. Now that I know a bit more about him and what a genuine guy he is, I'll definitely be watching these in addition to my already packed semester and reading his other books. I'm currently reading Looking for Alaska

Love and (a book) light,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

a book quote.

"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book." 

— John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hello again.

I took a very long break from blogging. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Life got busier and blogging was pushed to the back burner. I do feel like it was a good break to take. Now, coming back, I have a new, fresher perspective and a firmer grasp on what I want my blog to be.

Here’s the short version of what I’ve been up to for the past 9 months.

We got a puppy. His name is Rocky, and he is the cutest thing ever.

I ran a 5K.

I became an NPR sponsor. Can we say nerd?

I discovered BodyFlow. It’s basically yoga intermixed with tai chi and pilates. It has done amazing things for my body and my mind.

We saw Rain perform again. They are the best Beatles tribute band out there, and they get better and better with each performance.

I saw Norah Jones in concert.

I discovered Kindlewood. They are an amazing band based in Maryland. I saw them at a tiny venue here in Northern Virginia called Jammin Java. Their style is dream folk-rock —if that didn’t catch your attention I don’t know what will.

I lost friends, and I made friends. Friendships have always been tricky for me —they still are. But I have grown as a person, and I have learned that my worth does not come from someone else’s perception of me. This has made it easier for me to move on when something isn’t quite right rather than spending so much energy on trying to repair something that probably wasn’t sincere in the first place. I have also learned to appreciate the friends that I do have even more as a result.

I quit my job. Yes, this is a big one. I grew a lot at my former job. I did really well and moved up the ladder relatively quickly. But there came a time when I wasn’t fulfilled or happy. I wanted to do something that I could be proud of; something that would make a difference in people’s lives. For the most part, my company was good to me, but it was just time for me to move on. I started thinking about what I really wanted to do —what the 15-year-old, 10-year-old, 5-year-old Dorothy dreamed of doing, and…

I went back to school to get my teaching credentials. I remember always wanting to be a teacher. I have also wanted to become a lawyer, journalist, psychologist, but teaching has always run through my veins. I plan to teach English for grades 6-12. I supposed I could have worked during the day and taken classes at night, but I needed a clean break, a fresh outlook. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to walk away from a full-time corporate salary knowing that I have my husband’s support, fiscally and morally.

We got another dog. Boomer was our family dog that moved in with family friends after my mom moved overseas. He has finally joined our family, and both dogs now make our home so much brighter.

I chopped off all my hair. I had to get it out of my system, and I’m glad I did it.

I turned 24.

I posted a lot of pictures on Instagram. thekindledscholar

Now that we’re all caught up, I can’t wait to start blogging about life again.

Love and (a book) light,