Pursuing Art, Creativity and Happiness

Two of the books I read last year were “Steal Like an Artist” and “Show You Work” by Austin Kleon. The books gave me the push to pursue the artistic path- the path that seemed to be way off-tangent from what I studied in the university and the career paths I took for the past 19 years. Here I am in my late 30’s and I am still pursuing and figuring out my passion, whatever it is. If I compare myself to my parents in their 30’s, it seemed like they had everything figured out while I am still clueless of what I want to do and I am nearing 40! At this age, my parents had stable jobs, were raising a family (me) and were in control of their lives while I still feel like a child: wide-eyed and unsure of herself. Yet, after reading the books, I felt that I have a place in the artistic world I am trying to squeeze myself in.

I do not remember everything the two books have taught me but there were a few things that stayed in mind that seemed to speak to me. Austin wrote,”Do not wait until you know who you are to get started.” I am one of those people who would wait for the right moment-the right time- instead of making the moment be the right time. Life is short. We have a finite lifetime and if we live by waiting for opportunities to fall in our lap, we might be waiting forever. Instead, we can create the opportunities.


It is the fear of failing that keeps me from doing the things I planned to do. I may write cliches about handling failure and believe them but in reality, I really do not want to fail. I would rather not do anything than do something and fail. But what good does that kind of mindset do to me? Nothing. The fear of failure puts my dreams at risk. Amy Poehler has some wise words about it.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”

And who else can talk to me about failure and success than one of my favorite authors, J.K. Rowling? Many of us who read her books know that she was broke when wrote Harry Potter in a cafe in Edinburgh and that the manuscript she submitted to publishers was rejected several times. Yet, she persevered.


So what is the point of writing all these? This is actually a pep talk to myself. I am taking baby steps in pursuing a creative path. Right now, I am inclined to do a lot of art. I now have a Facebook page for those who are interested in getting me to do commission work for them. The Facebook page has samples of artwork that I have done in the past.

I have actually taken the steps quietly. Some friends asked me to do some artwork for them last year. This year, I am opening up the same service to anyone who is interested. You can like my facebook page to get updates on the projects that I am doing (or maybe you want me to do some projects for you. let’s talk!) and some snippets of my life. I will also share my blog posts there.

Here is the link to the eponymous Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/katrinakarenart


Hope you have the time to interact with me in that page. See you there!

fb page

My 2016 Goals

I wrote a long list of plans last year. I only achieved 11 out of the 25 things I planned to do. One would think I would stop making a list.  No, sir. Here I am again. I have learned my lesson and settled for five goals for this year.  I got the idea from Lindsey of The Postman’s Knock. She posted a challenge to write one’s goals in a creative manner- something that is display-worthy. So I came up with this.


 Let me expound my goals further.

1. Create more art. I have enjoyed doing watercolor art for more than a year now after picking up that brush again. I still have a lot to learn and a lot to practice. Friends asked me to make them some artwork and I accepted their requests as a challenge. Yes, they paid me! I am now in process of creating my Facebook page for my art and other future projects.  I will start accepting commission work from those who are interested in owning a watercolor artwork from me.  I will blog about it soon.


Commission work I did last year.

2.  Write more often. Technically, I write for a living. However, when I say ‘write more often’, I meant that I should blog more and write about my experiences. I am often tempted to just post the pictures on Facebook and just let the photos tell the stories.  There are experiences that are best described using words.  I wish I can do more of that this year.  It is when I write that I get to process my thoughts better and polish them into something that is worth reading (I hope).

3. Make time for personal reflection.  I wish I can say that I pray a lot. I do not. I try to be a good person but I do not have that regular routine where I take time to meditate and reflect on the what happened during the day. I want to enrich my day with daily reflections, meaningful prayers and words from the scriptures.

4.  Do more kitchen adventures.  I cooked some pork ribs with sauce last December. My aunts liked it that they requested I make it for Christmas lunch. I should do more of such kind of cooking this year. My aunt from Canada is coming home and I want to cook nice meals for her. Plus, my aunt is getting an oven this year so I will embark on more baking experiments. In many of my daydreams (hahaha!), I own a bakeshop where the shop is adorned with my art. I would offer baking and art classes every month and hold afternoon tea parties for friends. Hey, daydreaming is free!


Pork ribs in Korean Barbecue Sauce by Kat

5. Keep track on finances. I did my taxes yesterday. I realized I did not earn that much last year. I am a freelancer. The projects I get are unpredictable. However, I did not realize that I was already taking a dip on my savings and it created a dent on my liquidity.  The plus side, I am not in debt but I felt poor. This year, I will try to keep track on my expenses and earnings so there will be no surprises for me.

Do you have goals for 2016?

What Are Tumor Markers?

Researchers and scientists are in a constant battle to identify, predict, and respond to potential cases of cancer. Preventing and defeating cancer is a multi-billion-dollar industry. While there is no cure for cancer, scientists have made great strides in identifying cancer in patients early. This has made treating cancer and removing cancerous areas from the body a lot easier and more effective.

One tool that the medical community has been using is a tumor marker test. These tests are designed to identify tumor markers in the body with the hopes of determining whether or not a patient is battling with cancer. Tumor markers are substances that cancer cells as well as other cells in the body make when there is cancer or some other noncancerous condition. Even though tumor markers can be made by normal cells and cancer cells, they appear in a drastically higher level when cancer is present.

Tumor markers can be found in a person’s blood, stool, and in tumor tissue. Tumor markers are primarily proteins. Yet, recent advances in technology have allowed the medical community to identify certain patterns of gene expressions and alterations in the DNA that can be used as markers.

There have been multiple tumor markers that have been categorized by the medical community. Some tumor markers indicate that a person has a particular type of cancer. Others are only present when a person has two or more types of cancer. Researchers have not found a universal tumor marker that appears when any type of cancer is in a person’s body.

While they are a very effective way to diagnose cancer, tumor markers are not perfect. This is because in addition to cancerous conditions, some noncancerous conditions can cause the levels of some tumor markers to increase. Just because a person has cancer does not mean that the tumor marker that has been associated with their type of cancer will increase in their body. Also, there are many types of cancer for which a tumor marker has yet to be identified.

Many individuals have received an early diagnosis of cancer as a result of doctors detecting an increased level of tumor markers in their body. Tumor markers help doctors create an appropriate therapy for some cancers and have given doctors a good idea to the stage of cancer a patient has. Undoubtedly, when the medical community does find a cure for cancer, tumor markers and the tests associated with identifying them will have played an important role.

That Busy December 2015

Honestly, we did not have a great start to 2016 in the family because we lost a few relatives one after the other on the first few days of January and I also got sick. However, this is not a reason for me not to look back at the blessings I had for December.

I was done with my writing work by mid-December. I have pending commission art work which I already planned to complete before the year ends. My December was full of get-togethers, food, presents, friendship, family and laughter. I tried my best to embrace every moment with joy in my heart.

My friend, Teram, threw a party for us and I enjoyed what she prepared.


These are some of the bunch I went to Coron with this year and we are looking forward to our next trip together.


My friend came home for a vacation and we got these as presents.

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I also got pomelo from my former colleague.


When Christmas came, we did not want to slave in the kitchen so we just cooked a pre-sliced ham, made macaroni salad and bought brownies. We had these for dinner.


Because we were not busy with the preparation, we were able to attend the midnight mass for Christmas. When we went home, we ate cookies.


It was on Christmas day when we prepared for Christmas lunch with family. We were well-rested for the night so it was a stress-free lunch.


This is my family.


There were more parties and get-together with friends and relatives.



And I got this awesome carrot cake from my high school friends. It was rich, moist and dense. The texture was even. I told her that she needs to teach me how to bake this goodness. I cannot bake as well as her and I am excited to learn especially that my aunt is getting an oven this year. My oven still needs fixing. It has been two years since it broke.


December was also the month that I lost my loving father six years ago. I posted this photo on Facebook to remember him. I really look like my father and in this photo, many saw that he is my doppelganger. I am now older than him in this photo.


And despite the busy schedule, I am happy I was able to complete this commission work.


I hope you all had a wonderful December!

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