<![CDATA[Mademoiselle Cochon - Life au Cochon]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 05:20:50 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Lost in... My Mind's Translation]]>Wed, 03 Feb 2016 03:57:38 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/february-02nd-2016This is one of those instances where I think about one thing so much that the only way of not going insane is to toss it through my fingertips and into this blog post.

I've been thinking about my career path. Aka, I mentally look forward and see nothing but cloudy fog, a mass of nothing, a pocket of emptiness. I know what I love and what I'm good at, but I don't know how to marry those into a career. It's a strange way of feeling lost.

Anyway, I hoped that by writing these words my thoughts would become less hectic and more along the lines of, "Just breathe, Shirene, everything's going to be okay, you'll see." And... that's only sort of happening.

I guess the realistic way to think of all this is that I won't be able to figure it all out tonight. I won't be able to get rid of all the fog, draw the path or completely fill the pocket of darkness with light by the next sunrise. It's just going to take time.

Also, I think this is one of those situations where one has to tell oneself to just have a little faith. I'm one of those people that like to plan everything ahead in specific detail before taking the next step forward, so that mindset is something I'll have to try and get used to.

When was the last time you found yourself in such a situation? How did you come to terms with it?

Signing off,

<![CDATA[Enjoy]]>Sat, 31 May 2014 21:12:42 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/enjoy
Photo courtesy of quotesvalley.com

This post is about making the most of your situation. 
In my case, I had to make the most of being home all day since my car has been at the body shop for a little while. As someone whose Saturdays are usually spent with friends and/or exploring new parts of the city, it was challenging at first to face the fact that I couldn't drive anywhere. Especially given that the weather has pretty much been perfect for outdoors-y-ness (70 degrees, clear, sunny and warm), it was extra challenging.

But, the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt entered my mind: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." This motivated me to come up with ways to make my day a good one despite that I couldn't drive to Golden Gardens Park (where in my opinion the best beach in Seattle exists) or grab iced lattes with my best friend. I knew that if I spent the entire time in front of the TV feeling as if there were nothing else to do in the house, I would feel crummy at the end of the day.

So, I started out my morning by going for a jog at the nearby park (for reasons mentioned in a previous Life au Cochon post, titled "Sanity"). I had gotten used to being at the park in the evening, so it was refreshing to get a taste of the morning spring air and see the dew on the leaves. 
Following the jog were activities I had either wanted to do for awhile, or had taken for granted and hadn't done for awhile. These things included writing, reading out on the balcony in my backyard, and spending quality time with my little brother. It was especially exciting to read on the balcony, because it took me back to the summers during high school where I'd spend every day reading or tanning under the Sun. It was especially fun to joke and laugh with my brother, because it reminded me how I don't need to spend every single Saturday outside the house. 

I guess this goes to show that sometimes you may not know how your day will end; but, that just means there's a higher chance of you discovering or rediscovering things about yourself and the world around you.

<![CDATA[Get Away from the Daily Life…At Café Besalu]]>Thu, 29 May 2014 02:16:36 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/-get-away-from-the-daily-lifeat-cafe-besalu
Photo above courtesy of Café Besalu.
NOTE: It may have made more sense to post this in the Foods for Fantasizing section, but I decided to put it in Life au Cochon because of what the main focus of the material is.

Sometimes, it’s nice to get away from the daily life and immerse oneself in a fresh, new environment…or at least an environment where you know you can fully relax and almost feel like you’re on an overseas trip.

For me, one of those places is Café Besalu (note that I said ‘one of those places’ instead of ‘the one place’…This goes to show how much I love variety in escapement). I have only been to this refuge four times, but I somehow already convinced myself that it is one of my ‘second homes.’

There is something remarkable about the bustling noises I hear as I sip my latte and eat (more like inhale) my pain au chocolat—the lively chatter between couples and friends, the constant opening and closing of the ovens mixed in with the clinks of cups and saucers in the kitchen, and the mellow jazz music fuse into a lovely mélange. All of a sudden, I am enjoying every moment that passes. I am able to glance out the window by my table and relish the way the Sunrays hit the richly green leaves of the trees. I feel myself living in the present, which can be very hard to do most of the time back in the daily life. 

This is why I compare escaping to such an environment to going on an overseas trip—when you are in a place so far away, you feel relaxed and reassured enough to constantly think and do in the present. You don’t worry about what’s to come or what has happened in the past. 

This is why I convinced myself that Café Besalu is a ‘second home’ to me—I can fully relax, let go and take in everything that surrounds me each time I make my visit. 

P.S. Their pain au chocolat is literally the most amazing I have had in my life. Usually, you would find yourself searching for the hard, stiff, overly sweet chocolate somewhere in the depths of the stale pastry. At Café Besalu, you will surely get lost in the inexplicably rich, melted, conquering dark chocolate that almost flows through the freshly baked croissant. 

<![CDATA[Sanity]]>Thu, 22 May 2014 03:58:07 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/sanity
Photo courtesy of Kyle Meyer.

Lately, I have discovered why Mother Nature is so amazing. 
I'm talking about the sense of calm you can't get from anything else; the magnetic pull you feel towards thinking, feeling and living in the present. 

Now let me tell you why I sound like I had never seen a tree before in my life...
90% of my sleep consists of dreams of unpleasant/stressful scenarios, or of possible outcomes and other things to do with the future or the unknown. I wake up in the morning with tension in my neck and shoulders, and even worse, I wake up with a mind filled with negativity and anxiety. It all seems to wear off by the end of breakfast time, but sometimes fragments of it stay with me through the rest of the day.

This situation has dwindled down to a near zero since I started going to the park in the morning. I used to walk/jog for the sake of exercising, but now it 's for the sake of my sanity.
I still have the unpleasant dreams at night, but I feel less tense after I wake up as I get more enjoyment out of the rest of my day.

Whenever I'm in the nature, I feel small and insignificant. The trees and sky towering over me, combined with the reassuring silence (save for the light chirping of the birds, my favorite sound!), makes me feel like all my worries are minor and not such a big deal. 

So next time you feel like you are on the brink of falling into a deep bottomless pit of despair (or, you know, you just feel like taking a walk after a long day at work), take yourself on a tour of Mother Nature and feel your negative thoughts melt away. 

<![CDATA[Iceberg]]>Tue, 24 Dec 2013 02:06:42 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/iceberg
Photo is courtesy of the Ministry of Health, Samoa website. (I just typed "water" into Google image search and found this most appealing.)

You know when people keep saying that when you see an iceberg hovering above the ocean surface, you really only see 1/8 of its actual size? For some reason, this image has always given me the chills. This is likely because each time I am reminded of it, I find myself aware of the fact that I have no idea what to expect from the remaining 7/8. There is too much unknown to possibly conceptualize.

Same thing goes with change.
The fear one can have of facing the change happening in front of them may feel like facing the daunting task of visualizing (or attempting to visualize) 7/8 of an iceberg. Whether it is a death in the family, moving to another city, or losing touch with people you may have been very close with, going through the change may feel like your feet have suddenly lost contact with the ground. You are forced to navigate weightlessly, like you are under water.

But, it is always good to remember that you will in time gain the steady weight again (I'm sorry, it just sounded like I'm talking about gaining weight, something that inevitably happens to all of us during the holidays. Okay...now I'm digressing). If you make the choice to take the change in a healthy way and take it one day at a time to accept the shift and learn how you can grow from it, you will find back the ground and slowly conceptualize the remaining bulk of the iceberg. Even if the idea of a dominating size of ice is silently taking over the body of water, you can learn to see it as nothing other than part of the ocean and its composition.

I hope I have not gone too far with the iceberg metaphor, and if I have I sincerely apologize.
More importantly, however, I hope this blog post has made sense in terms of how change can be seen and handled.

Much love,


P.S. The reason why I did not put a picture of an iceberg in this blog post is simply because, as briefly mentioned, I have a strong fear of icebergs and looking at them. Seriously, like I could not even bring myself to type "iceberg" in Google image search. But, I will see this as an exciting challenge (that is, of little by little visualizing the iceberg).

<![CDATA[Leap Towards the Better]]>Sun, 22 Dec 2013 20:23:42 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/leap-towards-the-better
Photo above is courtesy of Coffee Shop Journal.

I had a small, very small epiphany earlier this morning. In the midst of my daily habit of having internal conversations with myself (I'm not crazy I swear), I realized that in the past several months I have become a better version of myself because of people who have treated me horribly. (Obviously not only because of these people, but partly for sure.)
By "better version of myself," I mean after all the drama and during the dark-place-where-you-try-to-get-over-the-end-of-the-friendships phase, I took a hard look at myself and figured out what I needed to do. I didn't want to come out of the phase a broken person with the permanent fear of making new friends, because that would only make me a paralyzed person for the rest of my life. I instead wanted to come out a better person who grew from the experiences and the lessons drawn out of them.

With that, I slowly but surely moved on.
Also, one thing that surprised me in the process was how I also became a better version of myself from the new habits I developed unexpectedly. An example is my now-nearly-obsessive habit of writing poetry. After a bad experience I had with one of my ex-friends, my instinct told me to write a poem. I found that it helped me get over the pain and gradually move on with my life. Before I knew it, I bought myself a poetry journal and since then I've been writing poetry almost daily, during good times and bad.

There will be cases in your life where those who have treated you the worst will push you to make a leap towards the better. Though, of course, whether you leap towards the better or towards the worse depends on your own personal choice.


<![CDATA[Buried Treasure]]>Thu, 05 Dec 2013 06:18:24 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/buried-treasure
Above photo: Courtesy of Deborah May's Blog.

Have you ever sat down and jotted a list of ideas--Ideas about literally everything and anything?
Have you jotted down, say, a list of 20 ideas every day?

This is a new habit I picked up recently. I was inspired to do it after reading an article on BuzzFeed that had a list of habits to help you drastically change your life in 5 years (so many lists...). The main purpose of the 20-Ideas-A-Day thing is for you to clear your mind and to perhaps discover something about yourself you were not aware of before...and perhaps to uncover buried treasure. And, by "buried treasure," I mean mental treasure.
Basically, revolutionary, creative, unprecedented ideas of how you feel you can change the world. The imaginary light bulb may go off and you'll suddenly realize how you will want to leave your print on the world after your precious time on Earth is over.

The ideas you write down can lead you to find out what certain career you want to make for yourself. They can set you on a path to complete self-knowledge (which will probably be a very long path, but definitely one worth traveling on). They can even launch you on a series of adventures where you sample on new experiences that challenge the way you think and feel about the world around you.
Or, maybe not. You will never know until you try.

So, sit down when you have some free time, when you are dressed in your boyfriend's pajama pants or after you have put the kids to bed. Take out a pen and paper/journal, and jot down 20 ideas about anything. Literally anything. This is probably one of the few chances you have in your daily life to really let your intuition be the dominant voice, so really take advantage of it! Do this every day, or at least as often as you can (for example, I do it when I'm on the bus or at home at the end of the day). Maybe you have buried treasure you have yet to dig out from the sand (or mud, however you want to imagine the metaphor)... :)

<![CDATA[Pleasant Unexpectedness // Autumn]]>Thu, 17 Oct 2013 18:27:47 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/pleasant-unexpectedness-autumnEvery so often, you will be stopped in your tracks (literally and in thought) because you will suddenly come across something that takes you by surprise.
The photos below are of my version of such an experience. I saw this tree (or, bunch of trees) while walking through the cold, brisk Lincoln Park and enjoying the lovely atmosphere. <3

It's always nice to acknowledge that part of the joy of life is relishing its pleasant unexpectedness. :)

P.S. I apologize that some of the photos are turned sideways or upside down. For some reason, the website didn't let me rotate them. Oh well, at least it won't get in your way of enjoying the bright autumn colors!
<![CDATA[Something Familiar]]>Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:24:23 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/something-familiar
Last night, I was watching a re-run of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (of whom I am a huge fan). When he announced in the beginning of the episode that Jack Johnson was to perform, it was all I could think about from that point on to where he introduced Johnson to the stage. Though I usually tune in to all the jokes and genuine moments on Late Night, this time I saw it all as a blur.
This description I just made is obviously a little bit of an overstatement, but I was still thoroughly excited and anticipating that moment where he would open his mouth and start singing in that lovely mellow voice of his.
You see, a friend introduced me to his music a couple of years ago, and since then I have deemed him my all-time favorite musician. If I was only able to go to one more concert in my entire life, I would in a heartbeat choose to see Jack Johnson.
With his infinitely calm singing voice that takes you to a weightless world where everything in life feels just a bit easier, and his effortless guitar strums and comforting lyrics that reassure you that you can in fact handle life's hurdles (with songs such as "Upside Down" and "No Other Way,"), I can safely say that he has helped me get through tough times and made me want to enjoy life a bit more
...Maybe these results also have to do simply with how he always seems to just have the best time of his life when he's performing live, or when you see him surfing in music videos.

Anyway, it had been awhile since saw him on TV or perform in general. So, when he finally began to sing his new song on Late Night, I felt at home. I was reminded of those times in the past few years where I relied on his songs like free therapy sessions, as well as the times where I have just played his music for the pure enjoyment of feeling the sensation of calm take over me. It's nice to get in contact with something incredibly familiar to you, since life is full of changes (both good and bad).

Here is the clip from Late Night. Although maybe you don't have the same attachment I have with his music, I still hope you enjoy the video as much as I did!


<![CDATA[Negative Energy, Not Wasted]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2013 19:01:18 GMThttp://mademoisellecochon.weebly.com/life-au-cochon/negative-energy-unwasted
What do you do when you go through a time of frustration, sadness and/or anger? How do your reactions go when you find yourself struggling to free yourself from an internal knot, digging into the pit of your being as the turmoil caused by some event that left you feeling much less than you would ideally want to?
You can always scream into a pillow, hold the feelings in until a minor event makes you snap, or you could go down the road of seeing life in a more negative light.

Or, you can take the anger or sadness and use that energy for good!
I recently was feeling an internal knot of my own. And although it was hard in the beginning, I had decided to make something out of those feelings so that I would not find myself empty-handed after they go away.
So after crying in the bathroom for a few minutes (since it is required that I fulfill the tear quota for every time I find myself in utter turmoil), I grabbed my poetry journal and pen, poured myself a cup of jasmine green tea from my bright yellow teapot, and sat myself down in the part of my living room that was most lit--namely, the part of the living room that was exposed to direct sunlight...I figured, why not put myself in the brightest position possible? *Cue rimshot: Bada pshh!*
Afterwards, I came to this website to write a blog post since I have always known that writing something potentially helpful to other people lifts my spirits. Then, I logged onto my Facebook account to reading whatever inspirational and uplifting posts my friends have shared.

When tough times roll in, it's always nice to expose yourself to all things positive--so that you're constantly reminded that things will always get better.
Here is a short list of productive ways to deal with the internal knot:
1. Write a poem
2. Read inspirational quotes, books, blogs, etc.
3. Clean your room (since you have more adrenaline when you're feeling mad/sad/frustrated)
4. Answer the long list of e-mails you had been ignoring for awhile (" ")
5. Watch an episode of a sitcom/your favorite show
6. Watch a movie that you know always makes you feel good (in my case, it's Pride & Prejudice starring Keira Knightley)
7. Walk outside (especially if you're in Seattle in the summer--you will regret it later on if you don't take advantage of the 2 months of glorious warm sunny weather! :) )
8. Talk to someone whose opinion you trust; ask them how they would deal with whatever turmoil you're in
9. Listen to relaxing music
10. Do something new and fresh--trying a new recipe, randomly pick a TV show on Hulu and try watching an episode or two (yes, I made a rhyme there just now on purpose), research for new ways to go by your daily routines, etc.

I hope this post has helped you as much as it helped me while writing it. Have a stress-free Monday!