Weekend Scrapbooking

Here’s my opening scrapbook page for 2014 with my one little word, embrace. I’m really loving the geometric design trend and the idea of the geo heart just came to me while doodling on graph paper one day.


I thought I was really clever (for a day or two), but then realized the design is all over the place already. LOL! Oh well, it’s the collective consciousness. With a simple collage of our family in the center, some journaling and quote at the bottom, I’m done! LTieu-scrapbook-2

Of course, I added a punched heart and some stitching as well. I think that I’m finally realizing that I don’t need to add more when it’s not necessary. Keep it simple silly.


Although I’m starting up with 2014, I have actually not completed my 2013 scrapbook album. I’m totally behind, to be honest, as the role of mom took over my life last year (perhaps still the ruler of my life now). The funny thing is that I felt like I didn’t capture anything in 2013, even though it’s one of the most important years of my life! Yet when I look back I actually have more than 50 layouts in my album already! Granted some are just simple collages, but goes to show that even the smallest effort can amount to a whole lot in the end.

Hopefully I can finish up soon, continuing with my project-life-esque method of collaging photos onto a page digitally and printing it all out with some simple design touches. For now, I realize that it’s important to keep moving forward and scrap in real-time as well.

I don’t want to miss out on today, worrying about recording yesterdays memories.

How’s your scrapbooking going along?

Never Worry Alone

A little while ago I saw this video from Marie Forleo and the one thing that hit home to me was to never worry alone.

A wave of heat rushed through me… whoa.


How is it that I have not realized and practiced that before now? When left to my own devices, my mind just goes on a rollercoaster ride of doom and gloom. These past weeks, months, year… has been really hard for me.

Learning to be a mom, trying to get things done and failing a whole lot, most of the time. Being disappointed, lost and just plain tired physically and mentally. It happens to all us at some point in our lives, but I let myself worry alone. I struggled alone.

Silly me. Even just opening up to my support network, helped to open up a new perspective. Whew.

It will all be okay. 

Are you struggling alone when you have so many people around you that care and would give you a shoulder to cry on? Cry on that shoulder, I say. You’ll feel better for sure.

Fridays + A Few Sketches

When Friday rolls around, we usually breath a sigh of relief and look forward to a fun and relaxing weekend. Oddly enough, I no longer feel that same delight nowadays. Weekends mean more work and time to catchup, even though in the end, I never am able to catch up anyway. It’s like a false hope of having more time, only to be disappointed again when Monday rolls around. Depressing, eh!?


I finally got to thinking that most work-at-home folks probably have a completely different schedule than the mass population out there. So maybe my Fridays are really Mondays. With clients and the time zone difference, Mondays are usually slower and more relaxing for me. A new start, you know?

LTieu-sketch-2 LTieu-sketch3 LTieu-sketch4 LTieu-sketch5 LTieu-sketch6

Anyway, I wanted to share some quick sketches I’ve done here and there for the 29 faces challenge. I’m obviously out of practice and not making enough time for it all… these are just quick scrawls. But that is better than nothing for a Friday round-up.


How do you feel about Fridays?

Love That I Can Draw and Eat My Cake, Too!

I often have no problem diving into sketch mode and drawing to my hearts content. It’s fun to invent characters and bring them to life with pen in hand.


The trouble is how to finish it all off. That’s where I definitely fall short. I can never decide how to color up my work. Should it be an acrylic painting? A watercolor? Collage fun? Copics? There are too many possibilities and that seriously drives me into a panic and wide-eyed, head-twirling stand still. Sigh.


Enter the computer. Oh, for the love of digital tools and the Undo button! With a scanner and Photoshop, I’m able to load up my sketches onto the computer and play with a million color combinations. Yes, it can be a time consuming affair, but it’s definitely worth the time. This is what they call color studies, right?

I’m loving the variation and freedom to play with color, since I consider color theory one of my weaknesses! How do you like my little girl sketch variations?


Pretty cool that with technology, we really have so much power – muhahaha! Now, if I could only decide which version to go with! What do you think?

Live Authentic | Live Proud | Blog On


My first venture into the online digital world was when I was only 14 years old. I think it was a local library class that taught HTML, so I created my very first web page and declared my existence online. Do you remember those flashing marquees and gaudy web colors?

The online world has definitely changed since then. Don’t you think we are all so darn sophisticated these days? With just a few clicks, you can make yourself a beautiful blog. Although I know, ultimately it’s always easier said than done.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and how to move forward. I know that we all curate what we post, more or less. But the more I planned, the more I felt it was too mapped out. There are a lot of tips and tricks out there about blogging successfully, but the heart of the matter is figuring out what blogging means to you personally.

I’ve been blogging since my teenagers years, on and off, from platform to platform and I must admit that ultimately, I write because I need to express my thoughts. Something about getting them out and published, as if I was chatting to a friend about my life. Now that I live abroad, more than ever I feel so detached at times and often miss the company of just hangin’ with my girls, you know?

I also like to create and experiment with DIY crafts and my design and illustration. And I’m not ashamed to admit that having an audience gives me motivation. Perhaps it’s simply the act of documentation that really does it, no matter how many or few people read this blog.

Finally, there’s this thing with community and being a part of a larger whole. I’ve always loved being online and involved in the digital sphere of life. Although commenting was much more common in the beginning days of blogging, now the conversation has simply moved to the various social media outlets. But I think it still all starts with the content on a blog.

So, I will continue to blog. I’m just readjusting my focus and ultimately going to get a bit more selfish about this space. I’m not a professionally blogger, so there’s no need to follow editorial rules or business tricks. That’s not what this space is for.

It’s definitely nice to have some clarity, even if there are still a lot of questions and fuzziness all around. A single point of clarity is something I can hold onto. In trying to unknot all the issues in my head regarding this blog, first I had to identify the issues. I’ve run into problems of trying to create content just for the sake of blogging, thus losing my passion. I’ve also run into censorship issues, wondering if I should share this or not that… whether it “fits” the focus of the blog or not. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with posts as well and being a new mom, time will only become more and more scarce.

My blog problems aren’t really that dramatic – many of us run into these issues every so often. I’m shifting my perspective and realizing they can be easily resolved. First, I must have my heart into this space, so I will blog only what I want to. There’s no need to fit into any kind of box… this is MY blog after all. Everything fits in the category of me (duh!). And the easiest way to keep up is to lower expectations and commit to a realistic schedule.

Sounds pretty straightforward and non-dramatic, huh? Should have realized all this sooner, I know.

All those words above lead me to my real point (see how I like to write?) – that I should be living more authentically and proudly. Enough of feeling inadequate or not up to par or outside the popular crowd. Who cares! There’s no need to make pretense and seem a certain way just for the blog. Living abroad in Italy is exciting and amazing, so I need to embrace it.  And we can never do it all, but we can do a whole lot with the time we are given nevertheless.

So this blog is about documenting my sort of normal, yet not so normal wondrous life. From living as an expat in the beautiful Tuscan hills to designing and illustrating the cuteness that I adore to motherhood to DIY crafty goodness that just makes me happy!

Now, I feel so much better about moving forward and doing what’s real and true to my heart. Yay! The guiding principle is to  remember that it’s about living my authentic life and making sure it’s something I can be proud of.

I’ve created a printable of inspirational hearts (since it’s Valentine week as well) to remind myself of these principles.

LTieu-live-printableFeel free to download the PDF for your personal use.

I hope you are inspired to just be yourself and do what is best for you. Thanks for reading and sharing in my story. I really do appreciate you bloggie friends out there – much love to you. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or words of wisdom, I very much welcome them. Although I’ll be doing my own thing, I still would love to hear what you are looking for in this blog – it might strike my fancy afterall. Ciao ciao!

Blog Parade Link-Up: February 2014


Hello February 2014! 

This is the monthly blog parade link-up post that I started after taking Make Art That Sells with Lilla Rogers. The idea is to simply check-in every month to share the work we have been creating. Share your creative progress so that we can cheer each other on. Or write out your intentions to keep the momentum going. It all counts, because doing something is better than nothing at all.

Be sure to share the direct link to your blog post and not just your main blog url.

On social media feel free to use hashtag #bplinkup

Can’t wait to see what you have been up to!

Hello February


Sigh… sigh… here’s a little sketch I’ve managed to find time for. Yes, January has passed too quickly for me, so I’m giving myself some slack and truly starting 2014 full-force this February.

The older I get, the more I have learned to come to terms with the fact that I will never have “free time” like the old days.  I’ve been super busy with work and raising a little rascal is the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s a wonderful adventure, but unfortunately my personal creative ambitions have been pushed aside. This year, I’m determined to make a come back. Determined, I say *shaking fist in the air*

First things first, I’m jump starting my sketching habit with the 29 faces challenge this month and I’ve also enrolled in Lilla Roger’s Asssignment Bootcamp, which starts Monday. It’s all about hustling.


All of this is in the effort to get myself creating and accountable, one way or another. I’m  continuing with my monthly link-ups and hope that you will all join me as well. Let’s just post about what we have accomplished, because that keeps us all moving forward.  Wish me luck!


Goodbye Southern California, Hello Again Italia.


This post has been on my mind too long. We’ve been back in Italy for over a week now… but I’m still just getting back into the swing of things and wondering how the holidays and new year have passed by so quickly. I must be getting old. Oif.

The transition back into Italian life has been rough. The constant rain doesn’t help either. I do miss sunny California. I suppose everything seems happier and brighter in all respects, in that kind of light. Maybe I’m just not a winter kind of girl.

But we must make the best of what we’ve got, right? So goodbye, sunny SoCal.

Hello again, Italia. I feel the need to fall in love with you all over again. The cozy smell of fresh espresso – done the right way, the Italian way. Family luncheons that last all afternoon. Fresh pasta, fresh tomatoes and open air markets. Beautiful scenery, historical sites, so much to discover and explore.

Living the slow life. Living a beautiful life… ahh, Italia.

Blog Parade Link-Up: December 2013


Goodbye to December 2013 – Hello 2014! What have you accomplished in 2013… and what will you do in 2014?

This is the monthly blog parade link-up post started with my fellow MATS classmates.

You can also join in by posting a creative update on your blog – please post the direct link to your post, not just your blog address.  If the linkup is closed, it means we are already onto the next month, so check for the latest blog parade link-up post.

What to blog about: The idea is to share creative progress so that we can cheer each other on and take steps towards our creative dreams… together! You can post photos of your latest work, round-up your creative accomplishments for this past month or just write about your intentions to keep the momentum going. It all counts, because doing something is better than nothing at all.

Note: Be sure to share the direct link to your blog post and not just your main blog url.

On social media feel free to use hashtag #bplinkup

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